may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Ian M. Roadfeldt,
Up North Sports,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed January 6, 1998
Department of Economic Security
File No. 10927 UC 96
Ronald I. Galstad, Moosbrugger, Dvorak & Carter, P.L.L.P., 311 South Fourth, Suite 101, Post Office Box 5159, Grand Forks, ND 58206-5159 (For Relator)
Kent E. Todd, Minnesota Department of Economic Security, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (For Respondent Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Huspeni, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
Relator Up North Sports appeals from a decision by a representative of the respondent Commissioner of Economic Security that respondent Ian M. Roadfeldt was not disqualified from receiving reemployment insurance benefits under Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 2 (1996) (individual who fails to accept suitable offer of reemployment disqualified from receiving benefits). Because the evidence reasonably supports the commissioner's decision that Up North Sport's general discussion with Roadfeldt was "too vague to constitute a definite and express offer of suitable employment," we affirm.
An employee is disqualified from receiving reemployment insurance benefits if he, without good cause, fails to accept suitable work or accept an offer of suitable reemployment. Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 2 (1996). The burden is on the employer to prove that it made an offer of employment or reemployment to an employee. Gonsior v. Alternative Staffing, Inc., 390 N.W.2d 801, 806 (Minn. App. 1986), review denied (Minn. Aug. 27, 1986); LaSalle Cartage Co. v. Hampton, 362 N.W.2d 337, 341 (Minn. App. 1985). The offer must be definite, so that the employee can either expressly accept or reject the offer. Whitehead v. Moonlight Nursing Care, Inc., 529 N.W.2d 350, 352 (Minn. App. 1995); Larson v. Pelican Lake Nursing Home, 353 N.W.2d 647, 649 (Minn. App. 1984).
The following findings by the commissioner's representative are supported by the record: (1) Roadfeldt was laid off after three years when Up North Sports purchased Jim's Fishing Headquarters, Inc.; (2) during the negotiation process between the two businesses, the owner of Up North Sports, Terrance Halvorson, told Roadfeldt that he desired to hire Roadfeldt after he purchased the business; (3) although Halvorson offered to pay Roadfeldt $7 per hour for a 40 hour work week, Halvorson was unable to provide Roadfeldt with any specifics as to Roadfeldt's schedule or work duties; (4) because Roadfeldt did not want to make a commitment based on such limited information, he expressed no interest in working for Halvorson. Halvorson claimed that he did not discuss further details with Roadfeldt because he was left with a definite and unequivocal understanding that Roadfeldt was not interested in working for him. See Lolling v. Midwest Patrol, 545 N.W.2d 372, 377 (Minn. 1996) (employer need not go through "charade" of detailing all terms and conditions of offer that employer has every reason to believe will be rejected by employee).
While the commissioner's representative could have viewed the evidence in this manner and reached a different result, we must defer to her findings and decision if reasonably supported by the record. See Tuff, 526 N.W.2d at 51 (appellate review limited to determining whether reasonable evidentiary support exists to sustain commissioner's decision). Because the record reasonably supports the decision of the commissioner's representative that Halvorson's discussion with Roadfeldt regarding continuing employment was too vague to constitute a "definite and express offer of suitable employment," Roadfeldt was not disqualified from receiving benefits. See Whitehead, 529 N.W.2d at 352 (after noting that employer has burden of proving existence of definite and express offer of suitable employment, this court affirmed decision of commissioner's representative that employer never made such an offer); Larson, 353 N.W.2d at 649 (while record presented some evidence suggesting employee's reluctance to work certain hours, no evidence established employee unequivocally refused to work other hours; this court affirmed commissioner's decision that employer never offered employee any definite hours on day or night shifts).
The decision of the commissioner's representative is affirmed.