Minnesota State Law Library
Shown here are the statements of the issues presented for review by the appellate courts in the briefs filed for this case. The entire brief set can be found at the State Law Library and other libraries around the state. See Minnesota Appellate Court Briefs Collection for more information.
CASE NAME: Cassandra J. Jenkins, Appellant, vs. American Express Financial Corp., Respondent, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.
Read the opinion in this case at A04-2308
CITATION: 721 N.W.2d 286 (Minn. 2006)
Legal Issues in APPELLANT'S BRIEF AND APPENDIX:
Where an employee begins serving a sentence under the Huber Law work release program, is her absence from work attributable to her own fault where the only impediment to her continued employment is her employer's failure to answer a telephone call from corrections officials seeking to verify her employment? Court of Appeals Majority: held that the employee's absenteeism was attributable to her incarceration and this was misconduct. Dissent: held that the employee's absence was due to the employer thwarting work release by failing to verify her employment. Most apposite authorities: Grushus v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 257 Minn. 171, 100 N.W.2d 516 (1960); Prickett v. Circuit Science, Inc., 518 N.W.2d 602, 605 (Minn. 1994); Windsberger v. Broadway Liquor Outlet, 346 N.W.2d 142, 143 (Minn. 1984); Minn. Stat. §268.03 (Supp. 2003); Minn. Stat. §268.095, subd. 6(a)(Supp. 2003); Minn. Stat. §268.085, subd. 2(3)(Supp. 2003); Minn. Stat. §631.425. Where an employer promises an employee that she can continue to after she begins serving a sentence under the Huber Law work release program, has the employer undertaken a duty to respond to a call from corrections officials seeking to verify the employment? Court of Appeals Majority: held the employer was under no duty to participate in the work release program. Dissent: held that Huber Law work release does not require participation by the employer, merely verification of the employment status. Most apposite authorities: Smith v. Employer's Overload, Co., 314 N.W.2d 220, 223 (Minn. 1981); Pine River State Bank v. Mettille, 333 N.W.2d 622, 626-27 (Minn. 1983); Martens v. 3M, 616 N.W.2d 732, 746 (Minn. 2001); Scott v. The Photo Center, Inc., 306 Minn. 535, 536, 235 N.W.2d 616, 617 (1975). Legal Issues in RESPONDENT-DEPARTMENT'S BRIEF AND APPENDIX: Employees who are discharged as a result of conduct that shows a serious violation of the employer's reasonable expectations, or conduct that shows a substantial lack of concern for their employment, are disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Did Cassandra J. Jenkins seriously violate her employer's reasonable expectations or show a substantial lack of concern for her employment by being repeatedly absent from work as a result of her own incarceration resulting from her assault on a nurse?
Legal Issues in APPELLANT'S REPLY BRIEF:
The Court of Appeals' per se rule is contrary to law, bad public policy and inapplicable to the facts of this case. The Court of Appeals' per se rule that incarceration constitutes disqualifying misconduct is contrary to law. The Court of Appeals' per se rule of disqualification is factually inaqqosite. The Court of Appeals' per se rule is inconsistent with the public policies of the Huber Law. The department's proffered rule, while better than the Court of Appeals' rule, is too narrow. Jenkins proposes a rule that will be easy to apply and will have applicability beyond this case alone. The employer breached a promise to Jenkins which caused her unemployment.
Legal Issues in BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE SOUTHERN MINNESOTA REGIONAL LEGAL SERVICES, INC.:
Both the Unemployment Compensation Act and the Huber Work Release Law serve humanitarian purposes. Construed together, these statutes compel the reversal of appellant's disqualification. The employer acted unreasonably in refusing to cooperate with appellant's work release. The "intentional conduct" definition of employment misconduct stated by the court in Houston v. International Data Transfer controls the 2003 statutory language that applies to appellant's discharge. The facts of appellant's case are distinguishable from incarceration cases in other states. Her jail term did not make her unavailable for work.