This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).







Darrel S. Benedix,





Minn Par Inc.,



Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development,




Filed March 1, 2005


Toussaint, Chief Judge


Agency File No. 20353 03



Darrel S. Benedix, 465 Mississippi Street N.E., Fridley, MN 55432 (pro se relator)


Minn Par Inc., 900 6th Avenue S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414 (respondent)


Lee B. Nelson, Department of Employment and Economic Development, E200 First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent DEED)


            Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge; Dietzen, Judge; and Huspeni, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N


TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge


            Relator challenges the commissioner’s representative’s decision that he was discharged for employment misconduct and is, therefore, disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.  Because we conclude that the commissioner’s representative’s findings of fact are supported by the record and that those findings support the decision, we affirm.    


We accord particular deference to the decision of the commissioner’s representative.  Tuff v. Knitcraft Corp., 526 N.W.2d 50, 51 (Minn. 1995).  Whether an employee committed a specific act of misconduct is a question of fact.  Scheunemann v. Radisson S. Hotel, 562 N.W.2d 32, 34 (Minn. App. 1997).  We review the commissioner’s representative’s factual findings in the light most favorable to the decision, and we will not disturb those findings if the record reasonably tends to sustain them.  Lolling v. Midwest Patrol, 545 N.W.2d 372, 377 (Minn. 1996).  Further, this court defers to the commissioner’s representative’s ability to weigh conflicting evidence and to make credibility determinations about proffered testimony.  Whitehead v. Moonlight Nursing Care, Inc., 529 N.W.2d 350, 352 (Minn. App. 1995); see also Jenson v. Dep’t of Econ. Sec., 617 N.W.2d 627, 631 (Minn. App. 2000), review denied (Minn. Dec. 20, 2000).  But whether an employee’s acts constitute misconduct is a question of law, which we review de novo.  Schmidgall v. FilmTec Corp., 644 N.W.2d 801, 804 (Minn. 2002).

An employee who is discharged for employment misconduct is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.[1]  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 4 (Supp. 2003).  Employment misconduct is defined as “any intentional, negligent, or indifferent conduct, on the job or off the job (1) that evinces a serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has the right to reasonably expect of the employee, or (2) that demonstrates a substantial lack of concern for the employment.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 6(a) (Supp. 2003); see also Bray v. Dogs & Cats Ltd. (1997), 679 N.W.2d 182, 186 (Minn. App. 2004) (recognizing that in “cases arising from conduct that occurred after August 1, 2003, the August 1, 2003 changes will be applied”). 

An employer has a right to expect nonviolent behavior from its employees.  Shell v. Host Int’l, 513 N.W.2d 15, 17 (Minn. App. 1994).  Violent behavior in the workplace constitutes misconduct “because it creates danger in the workplace and it interferes with the employer’s business.”  Id. at 18.  Furthermore, behavior that is “erratic and
disruptive” qualifies as misconduct, especially where the employee has been previously warned about inappropriate behavior.  Pitzel v. Packaged Furniture & Carpet, 362 N.W.2d 357, 357-58 (Minn. App. 1985); see also Booher v. Transp. Clearings of Twin Cities, Inc., 260 N.W.2d 181, 183 (Minn. 1977).  Finally, a knowing violation of an employer’s reasonable directives and policies generally constitutes misconduct, as it demonstrates a substantial lack of concern for the employer’s interests.  See, e.g., Schmidgall, 644 N.W.2d at 804; McGowan v. Executive Express Transp. Enters., Inc., 420 N.W.2d 592, 596 (Minn. 1988).

Here, the commissioner’s representative found that (1) prior to August 8, 2002, relator Darrell S. Benedix had difficulty getting along with coworkers and had outward bursts of anger in the workplace; (2) relator was warned in August 2002 that his behavior was unacceptable and violated company policies; and (3) although relator’s behavior improved for some time, he began exhibiting anger in the workplace again approximately one year later.  The commissioner’s representative also found that despite the previous warning that “angry, hostile behavior that disturbed others in the workplace would not be tolerated,” on October 31, 2003, relator smashed a radio with a hammer at his workstation, in the presence of other employees, and in an “angry and hostile” manner.  Consequently, relator was discharged on November 6, 2003.  The record amply supports these findings.

We agree with the commissioner’s representative that relator’s disruptive behavior, particularly when combined with his other problems, constituted misconduct disqualifying him from receiving unemployment benefits.  Not only was his behavior violent and disruptive, but it was also a knowing violation of the employer’s reasonable directives.  Although relator attempts to raise numerous other issues in his pro se brief, we conclude that those arguments are without merit.  Relator’s allegation that the employer treated him unfairly is irrelevant, as he did not quit, but was discharged, and there is no evidence establishing that the discharge was pretext for discrimination or retaliation.  Furthermore, the record does not support relator’s allegation that he was denied a fair hearing.     


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

[1] The revisor’s office inadvertently substituted the term “ineligible for” for the term “disqualified from” in Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subds. 1, 4, 7, 8(a) (Supp. 2003).  See Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subds. 1, 4, 7, 8(a) (2002) (using term “disqualified from”); 2003 Minn. Laws 1st Spec. Sess. ch. 3, art. 2, § 11 (making other changes to Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1, but retaining term “disqualified from”); 2003 Minn. Laws 1st Spec. Sess. ch. 3, art. 2, § 20(j), (k) (directing revisor to change the term “disqualified from” to “ineligible for” only in Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 12, and then to renumber to Minn. Stat. § 268.085, subd. 13b).