This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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







Abdibarre M. Ahmed,


Budget Rent A Car System, Inc.,

Department of Employment and Economic Development,


Filed November 15, 2005


Wright, Judge


Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Security

File No. 6131 04



Abdibarre M. Ahmed, 2900 Park Avenue South, Apartment 16, Minneapolis, MN  55407 (pro se relator)


Andrew J. Voss, Littler Mendelson, P.C., 3110 Multifoods Tower, 33 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN  55402-3716 (for respondent Budget Rent A Car System, Inc.)


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




            Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Hudson, Judge; and Wright, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N




Relator challenges the decision of the senior unemployment review judge that the relator is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because he was discharged for employment misconduct.  We affirm.



Budget Rent A Car (Budget) employed relator Abdibarre Ahmed as a service agent from September 3, 1999, until March 1, 2004.  As part of his car-service duties, Ahmed was required to complete daily car-service logs.  These logs record the identification number, mileage, and condition of the rental vehicle serviced.

On July 4, 2002, Ahmed received a written warning for intentionally misrepresenting vehicle entries on his car-service logs.  The written warning indicates that Ahmed received instruction on the proper procedure for completing car-service logs.  The Budget employee handbook, which Ahmed received at the beginning of his employment, lists “intentional misrepresentation, falsification or omission of information on any company document” as gross misconduct that may result in discharge from employment. 

            In February 2004, Budget investigated Ahmed’s car-service logs.  Discrepancies in the car-service logs revealed that Ahmed falsified the logs by entering the same vehicle for several different days.  Because of the falsification of the car-service logs, Budget terminated Ahmed’s employment. 

Ahmed applied for unemployment benefits from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.  The department determined that Ahmed was not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.  Budget appealed, arguing that Ahmed committed employment misconduct by violating a company policy.  After a hearing before an unemployment law judge (ULJ), the ULJ determined that Ahmed committed employment misconduct when he falsified the car-service logs.  Ahmed appealed to a senior unemployment review judge (SURJ).[1] The SURJ upheld the disqualification, finding that Ahmed’s falsification of the car-service logs was a serious violation of the standards that his employer had a right to expect.  This certiorari appeal followed. 



            Ahmed argues that the SURJ erred in determining that falsifying log entries is employment misconduct.  Ahmed also contends that he was dismissed for reasons unrelated to the car-service logs.  Whether an employee is discharged for employment misconduct is a mixed question of fact and law. Schmidgall v. FilmTec Corp., 644 N.W.2d 801, 804 (Minn. 2002).  Whether an employee committed a particular act is a question of fact, which we review for reasonable support in the record.  Scheunemann v. Radisson S. Hotel, 562 N.W.2d 32, 34 (Minn. App. 1997).  Whether the employee’s actions constitute employment misconduct is a question of law, which we review de novo.  Ress v. Abbott Nw. Hosp., Inc., 448 N.W.2d 519, 523 (Minn. 1989). 

In conducting our review, we examine the decision of the SURJ, rather than that of the ULJ.  Kalberg v. Park & Recreation Bd., 563 N.W.2d 275, 276 (Minn. App. 1997).  Decisions of the SURJ are given “particular deference.”  Tuff v. Knitcraft Corp., 526 N.W.2d 50, 51 (Minn. 1995).  The SURJ’s factual findings are viewed in the light most favorable to the decision, and we will not disturb them as long as there is evidence that reasonably tends to sustain those findings.  Schmidgall, 644 N.W.2d at 804. Credibility determinations are the province of the SURJ and are accorded deference on appeal.  Munro Holding, LLC v. Cook, 695 N.W.2d 379, 384 (Minn. App. 2005).  

            Ahmed disputes the SURJ’s factual determination that, during February 2004, Ahmed intentionally entered 15 vehicles in his car-service logs when, in fact, the vehicles were on loan to customers.  Our review of the record establishes that the evidence reasonably sustains the SURJ’s factual findings.  At the hearing before the ULJ, Budget provided Ahmed’s car-service logs for February 15, 16, and 21, 2004.  Budget submitted vehicle-movement histories for the cars at issue on those dates.  A comparison of the car-service logs to the vehicle-movement histories demonstrates that Ahmed logged cars on dates when those cars were on loan.  For example, on February 15, Ahmed logged three vehicles that were on loan that day.  On February 16, Ahmed logged eight vehicles that were on loan that he had also entered on a different day’s car-service log.  Ahmed’s car-service log for February 21, 2004, also included duplicate entries for four vehicles on loan.  Ahmed testified that he improperly logged the vehicles because blank car-service log sheets were unavailable.  Because Ahmed did not adequately explain why the vehicles appeared on logs for two different days, the SURJ concluded that Ahmed’s testimony was not credible.

In light of the nature of the misrepresentations in the car-service logs and the earlier warning Ahmed had received, there is ample support in the record for the SURJ’s finding that Ahmed intentionally falsified the car-service logs on the dates at issue.  When viewed in the light most favorable to the SURJ’s decision, the evidence supports the inference that Ahmed knowingly committed the acts that led to his dismissal.  Accordingly, the SURJ did not err by finding that Ahmed committed employment misconduct.

An employee who is discharged from employment because of employment misconduct is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 4 (Supp. 2003).[2]  Employment misconduct is “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 (Supp. 2003).

            Because an employer can reasonably expect an employee to abide by company policies, a knowing violation of those policies is employment misconduct.  Montgomery v. F & M Marquette Nat’l Bank, 384 N.W.2d 602, 604 (Minn. App. 1986) (finding that bank employee’s failure to review savings overdrafts, which were priority transactions for employer, is misconduct), review denied (Minn. June 13, 1986); see also Trebelhorn v. Minneapolis Cable Sys., Inc., 380 N.W.2d 237, 239 (Minn. App. 1986) (denying unemployment benefits to salesperson who intentionally appropriated sales and commissions of other salespersons in contravention of employer’s verbal policy); Ruzynski v. Cub Foods, Inc., 378 N.W.2d 660, 662-63 (Minn. App. 1985) (finding that violating employer’s timecard policy is employment misconduct).

            Budget required its service agents to complete daily car-service logs by accurately recording information about each vehicle serviced.  Ahmed asserts that the car-service logs were not an important part of his job and his failure to complete the logs accurately should not disqualify him from receiving unemployment benefits.  Even though Budget did not use the car-service logs as a performance measurement, the record demonstrates that Budget reviewed and audited car-service logs and took disciplinary action when they were not completed correctly.  When Budget disciplined Ahmed in 2002, he acknowledged that he had received training on completion of car-service logs and he was warned against falsification.  Therefore, Budget could reasonably expect that Ahmed would not falsify the car-service logs. 

            Ahmed asserts that Budget’s reliance on the car-service logs to dismiss him was pretextual.  First, he contends that he was dismissed because of his efforts to unionize the service agents.  Next, Ahmed contends that he was dismissed because of a workplace injury that may have prevented him from performing some of his duties as a service agent.  Ahmed testified that he reported the workplace injury to his supervisor on February 29, 2004, the day of his suspension for falsifying the car-service logs.  The supervisor testified that he was unaware of Ahmed’s injury until Ahmed later filed a worker’s compensation claim.  Moreover, an investigation of the discrepancies in the car-service logs was already underway when the workplace injury occurred.  On this record, we conclude that the SURJ did not err in determining that Ahmed was dismissed for knowingly falsifying car-service logs and that the falsification constituted employment misconduct. 

Because Ahmed was discharged for employment misconduct, he is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.


[1] Effective August 1, 2004, the administrative appellate authority changed from the commissioner’s representative to a senior unemployment review judge.  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2 (2004); 2004 Minn. Laws ch. 183, § 71.  The SURJ conducts a de novo review of the decisions of the ULJ.  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2.

[2] The department contends that, under 2004 Minn. Laws ch. 183, § 64, the 2004 statutory amendments apply to this case.  But section 64 does not contain an exception to the effective date set forth in the enactment rules.  See Minn. Stat. § 645.02 (2002) (providing that unless otherwise specified, laws are effective August 1 of the year enacted).  Because Ahmed’s discharge occurred on March 1, 2004, the 2003 version of the statute applies.  Application of the 2004 amendments, however, would not alter the fundamental analysis of this case.