This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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







Jeremy J. Keith,





North Homes, Inc.,



Department of Employment and Economic Development,



Filed November 28, 2006


Toussaint, Chief Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 488605


Michael W. Jonak, Attorney at Law, Post Office Box 48377, Coon Rapids, MN 55448 (for relator)


North Homes, Inc., c/o TALX Employer Services LLC, Post Office Box 1160, Columbus, OH, 43216-1160 (respondent)


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


            Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Crippen, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge

Jeremy J. Keith brings a certiorari appeal from an unemployment law judge’s (ULJ) determination that he quit without good cause.  Because substantial evidence supports the ULJ’s decision, and the ULJ did not err in determining that relator did not have good cause to quit, we affirm.


Keith asserts that because he was the only person to testify, the ULJ erred in determining that he quit.  Keith argues that he was discharged by his employer.  While Keith was the only witness to testify, his own testimony as well as the department’s submissions provide substantial evidence that he quit.

“A quit from employment occurs when the decision to end the employment was, at the time the employment ended, the employee’s.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 2(a) (2004).  “A discharge from employment occurs when any words or actions by an employer would lead a reasonable employee to believe that the employer will no longer allow the employee to work for the employer in any capacity.”  Id., subd. 5(a) (2004).  “Whether an employee has been discharged or voluntarily quit is a question of fact.”  Midland Elec., Inc. v. Johnson, 372 N.W.2d 810, 812 (Minn. App. 1985).

            This court will reverse a ULJ’s decision when it reflects an error of law or the findings are “unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (Supp. 2005).  “Substantial evidence” is “(1) such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion; (2) more than a scintilla of evidence; (3) more than some evidence; (4) more than any evidence; or (5) the evidence considered in its entirety.”  Minn. Ctr. for Envtl. Advocacy v. Minn. Pollution Control Agency, 644 N.W.2d 457, 466 (Minn. 2002).

            This court defers to the ULJ’s determinations regarding witness credibility and conflicting evidence.  Jenson v. Dep’t of Econ. Sec., 617 N.W.2d 627, 631 (Minn. App. 2000), review denied (Minn. Dec. 20, 2000).  “When the parties have presented conflicting evidence on the record, this court must defer to the [ULJ’s] ability to weigh the evidence; we may not weigh that evidence on review.”  Whitehead v. Moonlight Nursing Care, Inc., 529 N.W.2d 350, 352 (Minn. App. 1995).

            Here, the record contains a letter from respondent North Homes, Inc. to the department indicating that Keith quit his job and that North Homes had expected Keith to continue working.  At the hearing, Keith admitted that he told his supervisor that he could no longer continue his employment there under those circumstances.  Keith’s own testimony supports the ULJ’s finding that Keith quit.  His testimony shows that he chose to end the employment relationship.

            Keith asserts that he was discharged from his position at North Homes in retaliation for filing a mandated report against North Homes.  He argues that because North Homes did not appear and did not contest his application for unemployment benefits, his testimony regarding his discharge should be credited.  Although Keith alleged that he handed his supervisor the report and his supervisor proceeded to take away his keys and pager, he also stated he could not continue working at North Homes.  While Keith’s statements at best present conflicting testimony, it was within the ULJ’s discretion to weigh the evidence and conclude that Keith quit.  See id.  Substantial evidence supports the ULJ’s findings as well as the ULJ’s determination that Keith quit.

            Alternatively, Keith argues that if he quit, he did so with a good reason because North Homes required him to engage in illegal activities.  The ULJ, however, found this contention “at best, strained.”

            “An applicant who quit employment shall be disqualified from all unemployment benefits . . . except when: (1) the applicant quit the employment because of a good reason caused by the employer as defined in subdivision 3.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (Supp. 2005). 

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.


Id., subd. 3(a) (2004).  The statutory definition is “exclusive and no other definition shall apply.”  Id., subd. 3(g).  Whether an employee had a good reason to quit is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo.  Peppi v. Phyllis Wheatley Cmty. Ctr., 614 N.W.2d 750, 752 (Minn. App. 2000).  But this legal determination is applied on a case-by-case basis.  See Minn. Stat. §  268.095, subd. 3(b) (2004) (stating “analysis required in [Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(a)] must be applied to the specific facts of each case”).  Good reason to quit is lacking when an employee has irreconcilable differences with his employer or when an employee is simply frustrated or dissatisfied with the working conditions.  Ryks v. Nieuwsma Livestock Equip., 410 N.W.2d 380, 382 (Minn. App. 1987).

            Keith initially testified that even if his schedule was not changed, he still would not have continued to work at North Homes because of a “hostile work environment.”  Keith must show that the three-prong statutory definition is satisfied.

            There is substantial evidence in the record to support the ULJ’s decision to disregard Keith’s contention that he was asked to illegally reduce North Homes’s workers’ compensation liability.  Keith’s own testimony casts doubt on the alleged illegal nature of his job duties.  North Homes had neither prepared a written plan nor specifically instructed him to deter staff from going to the hospital even if treatment was needed.  As the ULJ found, Keith quit due to “differences with North Homes, Inc. and his belief that the work environment was hostile to him.”  Because these reasons do not constitute good reason caused by the employer under the statute, the ULJ properly determined that Keith was disqualified from receiving benefits.


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