This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






Marlene K. Almen,





Independent School District #659,



Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development,



Filed August 23, 2005


Kalitowski, Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 5477 04


Marlene K. Almen, 1413 Washington Street, Northfield, MN 55057 (pro se relator)


John M. Roszak, Jennifer L. Wolf, Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A., 300 U.S. Trust Building, 730 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent Independent School District #659)


Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351 (for respondent Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development)


            Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Forsberg, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Relator Marlene Almen challenges the decision of the senior unemployment review judge disqualifying her from receiving unemployment benefits.  We affirm. 


            Relator argues that the senior unemployment review judge (SURJ) erred in determining that relator did not have good cause to quit attributable to her employer.  Appellate courts review the findings of the SURJ rather than those of the unemployment law judge.[1]  Tuff v. Knitcraft Corp., 526 N.W.2d 50, 51 (Minn. 1995).  Whether an employee has good cause to quit is a question of law, which we review de novo.  Peppi v. Phyllis Wheatley Cmty. Ctr., 614 N.W.2d 750, 752 (Minn. App. 2000). 

            An applicant who quits employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless, among other exceptions, the employee quits for a good reason caused by the employer.  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (2004).  A good reason caused by the employer is a reason:

(1) that is directly related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible;

            (2) that is adverse to the worker; and

(3) that would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remaining in the employment.


Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3 (2004).  The test for reasonableness in this context is objective and is applied to the average person, not to the supersensitive.  Ferguson v. Dep’t of Employment Servs., 311 Minn. 34, 44 n.5, 247 N.W.2d 895, 900 n.5 (1976). 

            Harassment may constitute good cause attributable to the employer.  See Tru-Stone Corp. v. Gutzkow, 400 N.W.2d 836, 838 (Minn. App. 1987).  But the harassment must be reported to the employer and the employer allowed an opportunity to correct the problem before the employee quits.  Id.; see Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(c).  And irreconcilable differences with one’s employer or frustration and dissatisfaction with one’s working conditions is not a good reason to quit.  Portz v. Pipestone Skelgas, 397 N.W.2d 12, 14 (Minn. App. 1986).

Here, relator contends that she had good cause to quit her employment because she was harassed by respondent-employer.  But our review of the record indicates that relator failed to establish that she was harassed.  See id. at 14.  While the record indicates that there was a personality conflict between relator and respondent’s director of buildings and grounds, personality conflicts do not constitute good cause.  Trego v. Hennepin County Family Day Care Ass’n, 409 N.W.2d 23, 26 (Minn. App. 1987).  In addition, the record indicates that the SURJ made a number of credibility determinations in favor of respondent-employer.  And this court both views the evidence in the light most favorable to the decision and defers to the SURJ’s credibility determinations.  Whitehead v. Moonlight Nursing Care, Inc., 529 N.W.2d 350, 352 (Minn. App. 1995).

Finally, even if relator’s complaints constituted harassment, relator did not raise her complaints with respondent-employer and failed to file a grievance with the union.  Thus, the employer did not have an opportunity to correct the alleged problem before relator quit.  In conclusion, because the record supports the decision of the SURJ that relator did not have good reason to quit, we affirm the determination that appellant was properly disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. 


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

[1] The legislature recently substituted the term “senior unemployment review judge” for representative of the commissioner.  See 2004 Minn. Laws ch. 183, § 71.