This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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







Kathryn A. Redepenning,





Burger King-Willmar,



Department of Employment and Economic Development,



Filed May 30, 2006


Toussaint, Chief Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 355505


Kathryn A. Redepenning, Rural Route 1, Box 391, Bellingham, MN 56212 (pro se relator)


Burger King-Willmar, 4311 State Highway 27E, Alexandria, MN 56308 (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 Worke, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Forsberg, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge

            Relator Kathryn A. Redepenning challenges the decision of the senior unemployment review judge (SURJ) that she is disqualified for benefits because she quit her employment without a good reason caused by the employer.  Because the SURJ’s findings are sustained and supported by substantial evidence, we affirm. 


An employee who quits without good reason caused by the employer is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (2004).  The determination that an employee quit without good reason attributable to the employer is a legal conclusion, but the conclusion must be based on findings that have the requisite evidentiary support.  See Zepp v. Arthur Treacher Fish & Chips, Inc., 272 N.W.2d 262, 263 (Minn. 1978) (interpreting predecessor statute and requiring “good cause” attributable to employer). 

“We review the commissioner’s [now SURJ’s] factual findings in the light most favorable to the commissioner’s decision and will not disturb them as long as there is evidence that reasonably tends to sustain those findings.”  Schmidgall v. FilmTec Corp., 644 N.W.2d 801, 804 (Minn. 2002).

Relator worked as a crew member for respondent Burger King-Willmar from August 31, 2000, until she quit on February 11, 2005.  The department adjudicator initially determined that relator was disqualified because she quit her employment without a good reason caused by the employer.  Relator appealed, and after a hearing the unemployment law judge affirmed.  She again appealed and a senior unemployment review judge (SURJ) affirmed.  Relator now challenges the SURJ’s decision. 

“A good reason caused by the employer for quitting 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(a) (2004).  Relator argues that she had a good reason caused by the employer because Scott Linbo, respondent’s store manager, created a hostile work environment.

The incident that led relator to quit occurred on February 11, 2005, when she was late in completing her duties over the noon-hour rush.  Linbo began to assist relator, rushed around the preparation area, and knocked several pans onto the kitchen floor.  Relator testified that Linbo “lightly bruised” her arm after “[h]e bumped or jabbed a stainless steel pan into [her] arm.”  Relator explained that Linbo did not physically touch her but that he did so to “get [her] attention that he had the pan.”  Ultimately, relator left the work site.  She did not speak to anyone about her frustrations or the situation and quit her job.   

Relator testified that she quit employment because she was frustrated with Linbo’s behavior, that he targeted his frustration on her, and that any assistance she did receive merely prevented her from doing her job.  Thus, her qualification for employment benefits must turn upon whether such an environment would “compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remaining in the employment.”  Id.

The SURJ found that “a fast food restaurant environment is hectic and intense at times,” but that “the limited duration of the intensity prevents the work environment from rising to the level of a hostile situation.”  Relator’s own testimony supports that finding.  When asked by the ULJ, both relator and Linbo agreed that February 11, 2005, was a typical Friday; relator testified that she “felt that it really wasn’t that busy that day.”  

Relator quit because she was dissatisfied with her work environment.  This was a personal reason, and for purposes of unemployment benefits, even a good personal reason fails to equate with a good reason caused by the employer.  See Edward v. Sentinel Mgmt Co., 611 N.W.2d 366, 368-69 (Minn. App. 2000), review denied (Minn. Aug. 15. 2000).  Accordingly, the SURJ correctly concluded that relator was disqualified from receiving benefits.


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