may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Janice D. Olson,
Arctic Cat, Inc.,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed May 4, 1999
Department of Economic Security
File No. 5362UC98
Janice D. Olson, Rt. 1, Box 198, Newfolden, MN 56738 (pro se relator)
Arctic Cat, Inc., P.O. Box 810, Thief River Falls, MN 56701 (respondent)
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, Lansing, Judge, and Willis, Judge.
Relator Janice D. Olson appeals from the denial of her claim for reemployment insurance benefits, claiming she quit for a good reason caused by her employer. We affirm.
Relator worked for respondent Arctic Cat, Inc., sewing garments. On May 1, 1998, because relator was not meeting her production quota, Arctic Cat gave her a written warning, stating that her employment might be terminated if she did not show significant improvement in the following 30 days. On May 18, 1998, relator submitted a two-week notice of resignation to Arctic Cat.
After quitting her job, relator filed a claim with the Minnesota Department of Economic Security for reemployment insurance benefits, but her claim was denied, and a reemployment insurance judge affirmed the decision. Relator appealed to the Commissioner of Economic Security, and the commissioner's representative affirmed the denial. This appeal followed.
The commissioner's representative concluded that relator quit her employment with Arctic Cat for "other than a good reason caused by the employer," finding she quit "because she was not able to meet the employer's production requirements." Relator argues that she had no option but to quit her job because the production quotas that Arctic Cat imposed on her were unfair. Whether an employee had a good reason to quit her job caused by her employer is a question of law. Wood v. Menard, Inc., 490 N.W.2d 441, 443 (Minn. App. 1992). This court "exercise[s] its independent judgment" on questions of law. Ress v. Abbott Northwestern Hosp., Inc., 448 N.W.2d 519, 523 (Minn. 1989) (citations omitted).
A reemployment insurance claimant "who quits employment shall be disqualified from benefits * * * unless the claimant quit the employment because of a good reason caused by the employer." Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (1998).
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.
Id., subd. 3(a) (1998). The claimant has the burden of showing that she quit for a good reason caused by the employer. Marz v. Department of Employment Servs., 256 N.W.2d 287, 289 (Minn. 1977).
Here, relator was assigned various sewing jobs with different quotas. Immediately after starting a new sewing assignment, she was expected to have a production level that was 80% of the quota, but she did not always produce at that level. During the month before receiving the written warning, relator's production level ranged from 76% to 89% of the quota. The written warning stated that relator must show "significant improvement for the next 30 days and maintain it." Relator claims that Arctic Cat sometimes established production quotas by timing a "real fast sewer" and imposing that person's production capacity on her.
Because relator was producing near the expected level and because, as relator admits, at least some people were able to achieve the production quota, it was not an unreasonable demand that no one person could be expected to meet and therefore was not a good reason for her to quit caused by Arctic Cat. See Zepp v. Arthur Treacher Fish & Chips, Inc., 272 N.W.2d 262, 263 (Minn. 1978) (asserting employer's "unreasonable demands of [an] employee that no one person could be expected to meet" is good reason for employee to quit caused by employer). Relator did not satisfy her burden of showing that the production quota demanded of her was a good reason to quit caused by Arctic Cat.
The commissioner's representative also found that relator "was afraid that she would be discharged." Quitting to avoid disciplinary action by an employer is not a good reason caused by an employer within the meaning of the statute. Ramirez v. Metro Waste Control Comm'n, 340 N.W.2d 355, 357-58 (Minn. 1983) (affirming decision that claimant did not quit employment because of good reason caused by employer where claimant resigned to avoid discharge).
Relator also claims on appeal to this court that the stress at work was "unreal." But she testified before the reemployment insurance judge that she did not quit because of job stress, and that was the testimony available to the commissioner's representative. The issue is, therefore, not properly before the court. See Bestler v. Travel Co., 398 N.W.2d 611, 614 n.2 (Minn. App. 1986) (explaining claim not raised before commissioner's representative was not properly raised on appeal).
For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the commissioner's representative did not err in affirming the denial of relator's claim for reemployment insurance benefits.