This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).

STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
C3-99-667

Terri Lindemuth,
Relator,

vs.

American Airlines,
Respondent,

Commissioner of Economic Security,
Respondent.

Filed December 7, 1999
Affirmed
Kalitowski, Judge

Department of Economic Security
File No. 294UC99

Jodi J. Langhorst, 16186 Main Avenue Southeast, Prior Lake, MN 55372 (for relator)

Kent E. Todd, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner of Economic Security)

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Holtan, Judge.[*]

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

KALITOWSKI, Judge

Relator Terri Lindemuth challenges the denial of reemployment insurance benefits arguing the representative of the Commissioner of Economic Security erred in determining relator was not available to work and not actively seeking employment. We affirm.

D E C I S I O N

The factual findings of the commissionerís 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 Med. Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (Minn. 1983). Reviewing courts are not bound by the legal conclusions of the commissionerís representative. Ress v. Abbott Northwestern Hosp., Inc., 448 N.W.2d 519, 523 (Minn. 1989).

The commissionerís representative determined relator was able to work but was not available for employment or actively seeking work. To be eligible for benefits, a claimant must be able to work, available for employment, and actively seeking work. Minn. Stat. ß 268.085, subd. 1(2) (Supp. 1999). The claimant has the burden of proving eligibility for benefits. Decker v. City Pages, Inc., 540 N.W.2d 544, 547 (Minn. App. 1995).

A claimant is available for work only if ready and willing to accept full-time suitable work. Minn. R. 3305.0500, subp. 1 (1997). The claimant is not available if there are restrictions, either self-imposed or created by circumstances, that prevent the claimant from accepting full-time work. Id.

The claimant must make reasonable, diligent efforts to actively seek suitable work. Minn. R. 3305.0600, subp. 1 (1997). "Reasonable, diligent efforts" are those that a person in similar circumstances would make if genuinely interested in obtaining suitable employment in the existing labor-market area. Id. A claimant is not actively seeking work if the claimant limits the search to positions that are unavailable or are above the claimantís training, experience, and qualifications. Id. In determining the adequacy of the number of contacts, the department considers the employment opportunities as well as the claimantís qualifications and the normal practices of seeking work. Minn. R. 3500.0600, subp. 3.

"Suitable work" is work in the claimantís labor-market area that is reasonably related to the claimantís qualifications. Minn. R. 3305.0700, subp. 3 (1997). In determining if work is suitable, the department must consider the risk to the claimantís health, safety, and morals; the claimantís physical fitness; the claimantís prior training and experience; the claimantís length of unemployment and prospects of securing local work in a customary occupation; and the distance from the claimantís residence. Id.

When offered work is at a lower pay rate than the claimantís former rate, consideration must be given to the length of the claimantís unemployment. Minn. R. 3305.0800, subp. 12 (1997). Lower-paying work may become suitable as the duration of unemployment lengthens. Id. A wage that is below the personís previous wage may be suitable if it is not substantially less favorable than the prevailing rate for similar work in the community. Id.

Relator, a flight attendant for the past 14 years, was unable to work due to complications with her pregnancy. Relatorís only formal training was as a flight attendant, she has minimal other experience, and her leave from her flight attendant position was temporary. But relatorís testimony indicated she wanted full-time work with benefits at comparable pay to a flight attendant and that she restricted her job search to temporary work because she planned on resuming her flight attendant position. Moreover, while she acknowledged most employers would not want to invest in training a temporary worker, she expressed an unwillingness to take a job where training was not required because of the low pay. We conclude the record supports the decision of the commissionerís representative that relator was not available for employment because she imposed restrictions that prevented her from accepting suitable employment.

Further, the only evidence in the record regarding relatorís search for employment is her statement that she "looked at everything" and called on a couple of offices, but that she wanted full-time work with benefits despite a lack of training or experience. Thus the record supports the conclusion of the commissionerís representative that relator did not diligently search for work and limited her search to positions for which she was not qualified.

We conclude the commissionerís representative did not err in determining relator was not available for or actively seeking suitable work. Because this is dispositive of her benefits claim, we need not address relatorís argument that the commissionerís representative erred in finding her leave was voluntary.

Affirmed.

[*] Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.