This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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








Etoi S. Sidney,





Regions Hospital,



Department of Employment and Economic Development,




Filed May 2, 2006

Reversed; motion denied

Toussaint, Chief Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 10410 05



Peter B. Knapp, William Mitchell Law Clinic, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN  55105 (for relator)


Regions Hospital, 640 Jackson Street, St. Paul, MN  55155 (respondent)


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


            Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge; Randall, Judge; and Hudson, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge

            Relator Etoi S. Sidney challenges the decision by the unemployment law judge (ULJ) affirming his decision that relator was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because she quit without good reason caused by her employer.  Because a crucial finding of fact is not supported by the record and because the remaining facts show that relator had good reason to quit and was qualified for unemployment benefits, we reverse and deny the motion to remand.


            Relator was employed by respondent Regions Hospital as a dietary cashier until she resigned on June 6, 2005.  On May 31, relator had complained to a supervisor that a coworker was stealing items from the hospital.  Relator met with a team of managers, and on her return from the meeting, other coworkers asked her what happened to the coworker.  That evening relator received a threatening telephone call, and the next day a rock was thrown through her home window.  Relator called the police, who warned her to be careful coming and going to and from work.  Relator informed her supervisor, a manager, and the manager’s boss about these events and then resigned on June 6 because she believed the coworker was still present at the workplace and she felt unsafe.  Regions had suspended the coworker and investigated the theft charge but did not terminate her employment until June 8.

            Relator’s application for unemployment benefits was denied.  After a hearing, the ULJ found that relator’s manager had informed relator that the coworker had been suspended pending investigation.  The ULJ concluded that the employer had taken appropriate action and suspended the coworker pending investigation and that relator quit without good reason caused by the employer and was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.

            Upon relator’s request for reconsideration of the decision, she argued that there was no support in the record for the finding that her manager had told her that the coworker had been suspended pending the investigation.  The ULJ did not address this specific assertion of error and issued an order affirming his decision.

            Relator filed a petition for a writ of certiorari and a brief with this court.  Respondent Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) moved for a remand to DEED for an additional evidentiary hearing but did not file a brief.  Relator opposed DEED’s motion.


            This court may reverse a decision by an unemployment law judge if the relator’s substantial rights have been prejudiced because the decision was affected by error of law or if the findings were “unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record as submitted.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d)(4), (5) (Supp. 2005).  Whether an employee has good cause to quit is a question of law reviewed de novo.  Peppi v. Phyllis Wheatley Cmty. Ctr., 614 N.W.2d 750, 752 (Minn. App. 2000).  This court defers to factual findings made by the decision-maker when they are reasonably supported by the evidence.  Munro Holding, LLC v. Cook, 695 N.W.2d 379, 384 (Minn. App. 2005).

            This proceeding was conducted under a new procedure.  Previously, the ULJ conducted the evidentiary hearing and reached a decision.  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 1 (2004).  The employee, employer, or the senior unemployment review judge (SURJ) (previously the commissioner’s representative) on his or her own motion could obtain de novo review by the SURJ of the ULJ’s decision.  Id., subd. 2 (2004).  Recently, however, the legislature amended the procedure.  The ULJ still conducts the evidentiary hearing.  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 1 (Supp. 2005).  But now additional departmental review is conducted after a request for reconsideration, which may be filed by the employer, the employee, or the commissioner, and is decided by the same ULJ who conducted the evidentiary hearing, rather than a SURJ.  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2(a) (Supp. 2005).

            On this certiorari appeal, relator again argues there is no support for the ULJ’s finding that relator’s supervisor told her that her coworker had been suspended.  DEED, rather than filing a brief, moves for remand.  It argues that the ULJ misunderstood the testimony by the manager.  It also argues that the ULJ did not seek additional clarifying information about the communications between the employer and relator, resulting in a decision based on an incomplete record.  DEED acknowledges that whether the employer communicated to relator that it suspended the coworker and was investigating the situation was a critical issue.  Nevertheless, it argues that a decision that contains an error in the findings on such a critical point must be remanded to the agency for an additional hearing to obtain correct information.

            We disagree.  First, relator specifically raised and requested reconsideration by the ULJ of this issue of lack of evidence.  See Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2(a) (Supp. 2005).  Second, the ULJ did not address the issue and summarily affirmed.  Third, the commissioner had the opportunity to request reconsideration from the ULJ, but did not do so.  See id.  Instead, after relator pursued a certiorari appeal, DEED seeks a remand without filing a brief.  Remand at this stage and under these circumstances is not appropriate.

            An employee who quits employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless the employee “quit the employment because of a good reason caused by the employer.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (Supp. 2005).  “Good reason” is defined as 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.


Id., subd. 3(a) (2004).  If the employee is subject to adverse working conditions, she must complain to the employer to give the employer the opportunity to correct them before they will be considered good reason caused by the employer for quitting.  Id., subd. 3(c).  “Harassment by a co-worker may constitute good cause to quit where the employer had notice of the harassment, but failed to take timely and appropriate measures to prevent it.”  Wetterhahn v. Kimm Co., 430 N.W.2d 4, 6 (Minn. App. 1988).

            As relator argues and the department acknowledges, there is no evidence to support the finding that relator was told that the coworker had been suspended.  It is not disputed that she was threatened by telephone, had a rock thrown through her window, and reported the incidents to the police as well as to her supervisor, a manager, and the manager’s boss.  As far as she knew, her employer had taken no steps to correct the problem and the coworker was still working.  Under these facts, relator had good reason to quit caused by the employer, and she was qualified to receive unemployment benefits.

            The decision of the ULJ affirming his decision that relator did not have good reason to quit is reversed.

            Reversed; motion denied.