may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Carlotta M. Arradondo,
St. Joseph Home for Children,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed June 15, 1999
Department of Economic Security
Agency File No.: 6947 UC 98
Carlotta M. Arradondo, 620 East 78th Street, Richfield, MN 55423-4484 (pro se relator)
St. Joseph Home for Children, c/o R.E. Harrington, Inc., P.O. Box 1160, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1160 (pro se respondent/employer)
Kent E. Todd, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (respondent-commissioner)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.
Relator Carlotta M. Arrandondo appealed from a decision of the Commissioner of Department of Economic Security denying her reemployment benefits on the basis that she voluntarily discontinued her employment without cause attributable to her employer. We affirm.
Respondent St. Joseph's Home for Children employed relator as a counselor for the "Homeless" program from September 15, 1997, until August 12, 1998. Relator claims her supervisor, Jerry Midgett, coerced her into a sexual relationship from December 1997 until about July 1998. Relator contends that she did not report Midgett because she believed management would shut down the program.
Relator quit her employment on July 24, 1998. She contends she did so because Midgett had treated her unfairly and had sexually harassed and verbally abused her. Relator's resignation letter contradicts her claim in that it fails to mention any of these complaints. Furthermore, the letter states that she found working at her job a pleasure.
The first time relator informed her employer of Midgett's sexual harassment or abusive behavior was on August 4, 1998, 12 days after she resigned. When the employer received this information it began an investigation and offered relator an on-call position at another job site with a different supervisor. While the investigation was pending, relator telephoned Midgett on several occasions and chastised him for his past behavior. The employer told relator to stop contacting Midgett while the investigation was pending, but she continued to do so. On August 12, 1998, the employer told relator not to return to work.
Relator applied for reemployment benefits but was disqualified on the basis that she quit her employment without good reason attributable to her employer. On appeal the reemployment insurance judge modified the department's decision finding that respondent discharged relator on August 12, 1998, because of misconduct. Relator appealed this decision to the commissioner's representative. The commissioner's representative modified the reemployment insurance judge's decision, disqualifying relator because on July 24, 1998, she quit her employment without good reason caused by the employer and finding that relator was discharged on August 12, 1998, for reasons other than misconduct.
When reviewing a decision by the commissioner's representative, we are to use a narrow standard of review and to accept findings of fact if the evidence reasonably tends to sustain them. White v. Metropolitan Med. Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (Minn. 1983). Generally, a claimant who quits employment is disqualified from receiving benefits unless the claimant quit with good reason caused by the employer. Minn. Stat. § 268.905, subds. 1, 2 (1998). Good reason includes sexual harassment. Id. at subd. 3 (1998). In order to show good reason caused by the employer for quitting, the claimant must have informed the employer of the unsatisfactory working conditions and must have given the employer a reasonable chance to correct the situation. Larson v. Orpheum Minneapolis Cinema Corp., 281 N.W.2d 667, 669 (Minn. 1979). Whether an employee quit without good reason attributable to the employer is a question of law. Zepp v. Arthur Treacher Fish & Chips, Inc., 272 N.W.2d 262, 263 (Minn. 1978).
The record on appeal shows that the first time relator informed her employer of Midgett's sexual harassment and verbal abuse was August 4, 1998, 12 days after she quit. Relator is not able to establish that she quit with good reason because she failed to inform her employer of the situation and to give her employer an opportunity to correct the problem before she left her employment. See Ryks v. Nieuwsma Livestock Equip., 410 N.W.2d 380, 382 (Minn. App. 1987) (employee must report offensive conditions before quitting, to give employer opportunity to correct problem). Thus, she is disqualified from receiving reemployment benefits under Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1. Although relator returned to work from August 6, 1998, through August 12, 1998, she is not entitled to collect reemployment benefits because, having quit without good cause on July 24, 1998, she was required to earn eight times her weekly benefit amount before she could requalify for benefits. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 10 (1998). She did not do so and thus may not receive benefits.