STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Choice Temporary Services, Inc.,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed December 28, 1999
Minnesota Department of Economic Security
Agency File No. 1618UC99
John Emerick, 356 Southwest Third Avenue, Forest Lake, MN 55025 (pro se relator)
Choice Temporary Services, Inc., 1600 University Avenue, Suite 21, St. Paul, MN 55104 (pro se respondent employer)
Kent E. Todd, Minnesota Department of Economic Security, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent commissioner)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Shumaker, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
On appeal from the denial of reemployment benefits, a former employee of a temporary agency disputes that he lacked good cause to reject an offer of employment. Because waiting for a better-paying job does not constitute good cause for refusing a suitable job offer, we affirm.
Emerick began having difficulty with an infection on his left leg in November 1998. His leg problems caused him to be absent from work approximately 23 days in November and December. Emerick provided confirmation from his physicians that the infection caused him to miss work for approximately 21 of the 23 days he was absent from Onan. Onan notified Choice on December 21, 1998, that it wanted Emerick terminated from its account. Choice relayed the message to Emerick, who filed for reemployment insurance benefits within a week.
Choice offered Emerick another job at a lighting-fixture warehouse located in Fridley on January 8, 1999. The job required stocking shelves and filling orders and paid $9 per hour. Emerick declined the offer, stating he had interviewed with other companies that paid $10 - $12 per hour, and he wanted to wait to see if he would receive an offer from them. Emerick later testified he would probably have accepted the offer from Choice if it had paid more money.
The Department of Economic Security found that Emerick was disqualified from benefits because he refused an offer of suitable work without good cause. Emerick appealed, and a reemployment judge affirmed the disqualification. By writ of certiorari, Emerick now appeals the commissioner's representative's decision upholding the reemployment judge.
The commissioner's representative found that Choice offered Emerick a suitable job, reasonably related to his qualifications and wage history. Suitability considerations, defined by statute, include physical fitness, prior training, experience, length of unemployment, and prospects of securing local work in the individual's customary occupation. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 9 (1998). Emerick does not directly challenge the suitability of the job. The uncontroverted record demonstrates that the new position was reasonably related to Emerick's qualifications, was located in the same city as his previous position with Onan, and paid only 39 cents per hour less than the Onan job. While the new position might have been unsuitable for Emerick if the medical condition of his leg continued to preclude him from work requiring long periods on his feet, nothing in the record permits this court to reach that conclusion.
Emerick indicated on his application for reemployment benefits that he was ready for work on December 27, 1998, and he did not give his medical condition as a reason for rejecting the job offered by Choice on January 8, 1999, or in testimony before the reemployment insurance judge. The only reason Emerick provided for refusing the job offer from Choice was that he was waiting for an offer that would pay more money. This court has recognized that a job offer might be unsuitable if it pays less than the claimant's previous wage, but the differential must be substantial and is generally only one factor in the determination. See Henry v. Dolphin Temp. Help Servs., 386 N.W.2d 277, 281 (Minn. App. 1986) (finding temporary job offer paying $5.00 per hour not suitable when compared with previous permanent job paying approximately $10.63 per hour); Kuether v. Personnel Pool of Minnesota, 394 N.W.2d 259, 261 (Minn. App. 1986) (finding temporary job paying $3.75 per hour unsuitable when claimant was seeking full-time permanent employment and had earned $6 per hour at his most recent job). But cf. Mastley v. Commissioner of Econ. Sec., 347 N.W.2d 515, 518-19 (Minn. App. 1984) (finding $8.50 per hour suitable even though claimant's previous job paid $10 per hour).
Rejecting a job paying 39 cents per hour less than a previous job does not constitute good cause for refusal. See Preiss v. Commissioner of Econ. Sec., 347 N.W.2d 74, 76 (Minn. App. 1984) (finding no good cause when claimant argued she had refused a job offer because she was waiting for a better opportunity). From this record, we find no error in the conclusion of the commissioner's representative that Emerick failed to meet his burden of proving he had good cause to reject the job offer from Choice.