may not be cited as provided by
Minn. Stat § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Linda F. Fleming,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed March 23, 1999
Department of Economic Security
Agency File No. 3140UC98
Linda K. Fleming, 10 West Exchange Street, #1209, St. Paul, MN 55102 (pro se relator)
REM-Hennepin, Inc., 3201 West 69th Street, Edina, MN 55435 (respondent)
Kent Todd, Department of Economic Security, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner of Economic Security)
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Davies, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
Relator Linda Fleming challenges the commissioner's representative's determination that she voluntarily quit employment without a good reason caused by her employer. We affirm.
A supervisor informed Fleming that she was going to receive a written warning for refusing to stay with a client while a coworker transported another client and for arguing loudly with another employee. Fleming requested a meeting to discuss the warning. A supervisor and the program director testified that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the written warning and REM-Hennepin's expectations of Fleming and that REM-Hennepin did not bring up the possibility of termination.
At the meeting, Fleming complained about a lack of support from coworkers and supervisors and said that she could not remain in her job without additional support. Fleming requested a mutual agreement with REM-Hennepin for her to leave employment. The supervisor testified that Fleming wanted the mutual agreement so that there would not appear to be anything negative about her separation from employment.
Fleming and an REM-Hennepin representative signed a statement that said, "By mutual agreement, Linda Fleming is leaving employment with REM-Hennepin, Inc." At Fleming's request, REM-Hennepin removed the written warning so that it would not become part of Fleming's permanent employment record. Fleming performed no further services for REM-Hennepin.
The employer has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that an employee quit employment. Marz v. Department of Employment Servs., 256 N.W.2d 287, 289 (Minn. 1977).
Whether an employee has been discharged or voluntarily quit is a question of fact, and we will not disturb factual findings if there is evidence in the record which reasonably sustains those findings.
Midland Elec., Inc. v. Johnson, 372 N.W.2d 810, 812 (Minn. App. 1985) (citations omitted).
The evidence sustains the commissioner's representative's finding that Fleming quit her job. The record shows that Fleming initiated her separation from employment by requesting a mutual agreement with REM-Hennepin for her to leave employment. Moreover, at the hearing before the reemployment insurance judge, Fleming initially denied quitting employment but later testified as follows:
The issues are whether Linda F. Fleming voluntarily separated, discontinued employment with good cause attributable to the employer. My response to the question is in the affirmative, yes.
When the employer has established that the employee quit work, the burden shifts to the employee to show a good reason caused by the employer for quitting. Marz, 256 N.W.2d at 289. Whether an employee had a good reason caused by the employer for quitting is a question of law. Wood v. Menard, Inc., 490 N.W.2d 441, 443 (Minn. App. 1992). This court exercises its independent judgment on questions of law. Ress v. Abbott Northwestern Hosp., Inc., 448 N.W.2d 519, 523 (Minn. 1989).
A good reason caused by the employer for quitting is a reason:
(1) that is directly related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible; and
(2) that is significant and would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit.
Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 9(a) (Supp. 1997).
Fleming's testimony that she could not remain in her job without additional support from coworkers and supervisors supports the commissioner's representative's finding that she quit her job because she was dissatisfied with her working conditions. In cases decided under the previous version of Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 1a, this court held that mere dissatisfaction with working conditions did not constitute good cause for quitting employment. See, e.g., Trego v. Hennepin County Family Day Care Ass'n, 409 N.W.2d 23, 26 (Minn. App. 1987) (employee's dissatisfaction with interim director did not constitute good cause to quit); Portz v. Pipestone Skelgas, 397 N.W.2d 12, 14 (Minn. App. 1986) ("`good cause attributable to the employer' does not encompass situations where an employee experiences irreconcilable differences with others at work or where the employee is simply frustrated or dissatisfied with his working conditions"); Foy v. J.E.K Indus., 352 N.W.2d 123, 125 (Minn. App. 1984) (dissatisfaction and frustration with employer did not give employee good cause to quit).
The commissioner's representative did not err by concluding that Fleming failed to meet her burden of proving that she quit her employment for a good reason caused by her employer.