may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Nadine B. Kehn, Relator,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed November 24, 1998
Department of Economic Security
File No. 230UC98
Insty Prints, Cahill Imaging, Inc., 12975 16th Avenue North, Plymouth, MN 55441 (respondent - pro se)
Kent E. Todd, Minnesota Department of Economic Security, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent-Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
Relator Nadine B. Kehn challenges the decision of the commissioner's representative disqualifying her from receiving reemployment benefits because she quit her job without good cause attributable to her employer. We affirm.
Kehn was a customer service representative for Insty Prints. Before November 1, 1997, Kehn worked 86.5 hours every two-week pay period and earned $1,115.
In late October 1997, Kehn asked to reduce her hours due to family commitments. The president of Insty Prints agreed to her request, but they did not discuss an associated salary reduction. On November 1, 1997, Kehn began working 77 hours biweekly. On November 17, 1997, she discovered that her pay had been reduced in proportion to her reduced hours. Her new biweekly wages were $992.53. Kehn believed that her pay should not be reduced as a result of working fewer hours, but she did not try to resolve the matter. On November 19, 1997, she quit.
Our scope of review in economic security cases is limited. Johnson v. Wilson & Co., 266 Minn. 500, 507, 124 N.W.2d 496, 501 (1963). This court reviews the findings in the light most favorable to the decision; if evidence reasonably tends to sustain the findings, the decision will not be disturbed. Group Health Plan, Inc. v. Lopez, 341 N.W.2d 294, 296 (Minn. App. 1983). This court is free to exercise its independent judgment on questions of law. Smith v. Employers' Overload Co., 314 N.W.2d 220, 221 (Minn. 1981).
It is undisputed that Kehn voluntarily quit her job at Insty Prints. An employee who voluntarily quits a job is not entitled to receive reemployment benefits unless it is determined that the employee quit "because of a good reason caused by the employer." Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 1a (1) (Supp. 1997). Whether an employee has good cause to quit is a question of law. Wood v. Menard, Inc., 490 N.W.2d 441, 443 (Minn. App. 1992) The employee has the burden of proving good cause to quit. Haskins v. Choice Auto Rental, Inc., 558 N.W.2d 507, 510 (Minn. App. 1997). Kehn argues that the she had good cause to quit based on her reduction in pay. We disagree.
The supreme court held that a 21-26% pay cut was so unreasonable that employees had no alternative but to leave their employment but cited with approval cases from other jurisdictions holding that a decrease of less than 15 percent does not constitute good cause for employment separation. Sunstar Foods, Inc., v. Uhlendorf, 310 N.W.2d 80, 84-85 (Minn. 1981).
Kehn's decrease in biweekly pay from $1,115.00 to $992.53 was an 11 percent reduction. Under Sunstar Foods, Kehn would not have had good cause to quit even if Insty Prints had imposed an 11 percent pay cut without reducing her hours. Kehn's pay cut occurred when her work hours were reduced by 11 percent at her request. The commissioner's representative did not err by concluding that Kehn did not quit her job with good cause attributable to her employer.