This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).




Cassandra M. Smith,



Piper Jaffray, Inc.,


Commissioner of Economic Security,


Filed April 27, 1999


Amundson, Judge

Department of Economic Security

File No. 4759UC98

Cassandra M. Smith, 3321 Lyndale Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55412 (pro se relator)

Piper Jaffray, Inc., P.O. Box 283, St. Louis, MO 63166 (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 Amundson, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.



The commissioner's representative determined that relator Cassandra M. Smith quit her job without good cause and was disqualified from receiving reemployment benefits. On appeal, Smith contends that she had good cause to quit because of unresolved racial discrimination issues. We affirm.


Smith worked full-time as a records clerk for Piper Jaffray from March 25, 1996 through May 29, 1998. While at Piper Jaffray, Smith contends that she was passed over for numerous promotions, including: (1) August 1996 senior clerk position; (2) April 1997 work leader position; and, (3) October 1997 senior clerk position. On all occasions, Smith was informed of certain skills that needed improving before she could be promoted to these positions.

On April 22, 1998, Smith was denied a pay raise and placed on a 30-day probation because of certain performance-related issues such as absenteeism, tardiness, and excessive personal telephone calls. After this incident, Smith talked to her employee advocate. On April 27, 1998, a meeting was held among Smith, the advocate, and Smith's supervisor, at which time Smith's performance evaluation was discussed. As a result of the meeting, Smith was allowed her pay increase, retroactive to April 1, 1998, however, she was still on probation for the 30-day period.

Smith had also discussed with her employee advocate her belief that she was being discriminated against on the basis of her race, which is African American. On May 13, 1998, Smith met with the director of operations because she was not satisfied with her advocate's actions regarding her discrimination concerns. Smith informed the director of operations of her discrimination concerns and asked that a "write up" be placed in her supervisor's file. The director of operations informed Smith that he would talk to her supervisor, but would not place anything in her file. Although Smith had a follow-up meeting scheduled with her supervisor and employee advocate on June 4, 1998, Smith resigned on May 31, 1998 (a Sunday), with her last date of employment being Friday, May 29, 1998.

Smith applied for, and was denied, reemployment insurance benefits. A representative of the Commissioner of Economic Security ruled that relator was disqualified from reemployment insurance benefits, finding that she quit her job with Piper Jaffray, Inc. without good cause. Smith now seeks certiorari review of that decision.


On appeal, we view the findings of the commissioner's representative in the light most favorable to the decision, and the findings should not be disturbed where the evidence reasonably supports them. White v. Metropolitan Med. Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (Minn. 1983). Whether a claimant is properly disqualified from receiving reemployment insurance benefits is a legal question. Markel v. City of Circle Pines, 479 N.W.2d 382, 834 (Minn. 1992). The issue of disqualification is a legal question that we review de novo. Kalberg v. Park & Recreation Bd., 563 N.W.2d 275, 276 (Minn. App. 1997).

Here, the parties agree that Smith voluntarily terminated her employment with Piper Jaffray. Further, there is no dispute regarding the underlying facts that led to Smith's resignation. Therefore, we determine, as a matter of law, whether Smith had good cause, attributable to Piper Jaffray, to quit her job.

A claimant who quits employment is disqualified from receiving reemployment benefits

(1) unless the claimant quit the employment because of a good reason caused by the employer;

Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1 (1998). The burden is on the employee to prove that his or her resignation was based on good cause attributable to her employer. Trego v. Hennepin County Family Day Care Ass'n, 409 N.W.2d 23, 26 (Minn. App. 1987). A good cause is one

(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. § 268.095, subd. 3(a) (1998).

Good cause to quit is not established when an employee has irreconcilable differences with her employer or with others at work or when an employee is "simply frustrated or dissatisfied with his working conditions." Trego, 409 N.W.2d at 26 (quoting Portz v. Pipestone Skelgas, 397 N.W.2d 12, 14 (Minn. App. 1986) (citations omitted)). Additionally, before quitting, an employee must give an employer sufficient time to investigate and possibly correct the cause of the employee's dissatisfaction. McLane v. Casa de Esperanza, 385 N.W.2d 416, 418 (Minn. App. 1986); see also Tru-Stone Corp. v. Gutzkow, 400 N.W.2d 836, 838 (Minn. App. 1987) (stating that, to establish good cause attributable to employer, employer must be given an opportunity to correct problem). Because there were further meetings scheduled to address Smith's concerns and because the director of operations had indicated that he would discuss those concerns with Smith's supervisor, Smith had not given Piper Jaffray sufficient time to address her dissatisfaction before she resigned.

Here the commissioner's representative determined that: (1) Smith was dissatisfied with her 30-day probation period; (2) Smith was given a raise retroactive to April 1, 1998; (3) Piper Jaffray scheduled another meeting for June 4, 1998 to further discuss Smith's concerns; (4) Smith quit before the June 4 meeting was held; and (5) the fact that Smith failed to receive her desired promotions in position did not mean that she was discriminated against by her employer. The commissioner's representative concluded:

We do not find that the claimant was discriminated against, and we do not find any contract or obligation requiring that the employer promote her.
* * *
The evidence shows that on several occasions the claimant was told that she needed to improve her skills. The claimant was also placed on probation and warned that she needed to improve her attendance and tardiness and related matters.

The commissioner's representative affirmed the decision of the reemployment judge, finding that Smith was disqualified from receiving reemployment benefits because she quit without good cause attributable to her employer. The record reasonably supports the decision of the commissioner's representative, and the commissioner's representative did not err when he found that Smith did not quit her job for good cause.