STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Craig S. Geldon,
City of Stacy,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed June 29, 1999
Department of Economic Security
Agency File No. 7095UC98
Robert S. Butwinick, 12 South Sixth Street, Suite 1220, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for relator)
Peter J. Grundhoefer, Johnson, Casterton & Grundhoefer, P.A., 105 Main Street, Box 217, Center City, MN 55012 (for respondent City of Stacy)
Kent E. Todd, Minnesota Department of Economic Security, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Relator appeals by writ of certiorari challenging the finding of the Commissioner of Economic Security’s representative disqualifying relator from receiving reemployment benefits. Because we conclude that relator quit and was not discharged, we affirm.
Relator Craig Geldon was a full time maintenance worker for the City of Stacy from 1996 to 1998. On August 18, 1998, relator and his supervisor were painting crosswalks when relator drove over a traffic cone. After the supervisor reprimanded him, relator drove one block to the city garage, leaving the supervisor to carry the traffic cones back to the garage.
At the garage, relator and the supervisor argued. Eventually, relator asked the supervisor if he wanted his keys and pager; the supervisor did not respond. Relator threw his keys and pager towards the supervisor, and again asked him if he wanted them; the supervisor replied that he should just leave them. Relator then left the garage and did not show up for work again; he testified that he thought he was discharged. The supervisor testified that he thought relator quit.
D E C I S I O N
The findings of the commissioner’s representative must "be viewed in the light most favorable to the decision, and if there is evidence reasonably tending to sustain them, they will not be disturbed." White v. Metropolitan Medical Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (Minn. 1983). The commissioner’s representative’s determination of the law is not binding on this court. Soussi v. Blue & White Service Corp., 498 N.W.2d 316, 318 (Minn. App. 1993).
Employees are disqualified from benefits unless they quit "because of a good reason caused by the employer." Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1 (1) (1998). But an employee who is discharged shall not be disqualified unless certain exceptions apply. Minn Stat. § 268.095, subd 4 (1998). The definition of discharge is:
A discharge from employment occurs when any words or actions by an employer would lead a reasonable employee to believe that the employee's services are no longer desired by the employer.
Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 5 (1998). When there is a dispute concerning whether the employee quit or was discharged, the employer has the burden of proof. Brown v. Port of Sunnyside Club, Inc., 304 N.W.2d 877, 879 (Minn. 1981).
In Brown, the employer did not meet the burden of showing an employee quit: the employee left an argument without the intention of quitting; the employer told him to keep walking, and the employer testified that he did not know what the employee was doing. Id. at 878-79. Relator argues that the facts of this case are the same as in Brown, and would cause a reasonable employee to believe he was being discharged. But here relator’s supervisor testified that relator had quit. This court may not question "the credibility of witnesses as determined by the [c]ommissioner." Grotjohn v. Cornbelt Foods, Inc., 370 N.W.2d 48, 50 (Minn. App. 1985). Furthermore, relator testified he threw his keys and pager at his supervisor. In Brown, the employee performed no affirmative act that could be characterized as quitting.
The evidence here, unlike that in Brown, reasonably supports the determination that relator quit and that his supervisor accepted his resignation. We conclude that relator was properly disqualified from receiving benefits.