This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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







Elva E. Baumgartner,


Independent School District #115,

Department of Employment and Economic Development,


Filed November 14, 2006


Wright, Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 1340105



Elva E. Baumgartner, 14095 Circle Pines Drive, Park Rapids, MN  56470-6088 (pro se relator)


Independent School District #115, Cass Lake/Bena Middle School, 208 Central Avenue Northwest, Cass Lake, MN  56633-3373 (respondent)


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



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

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N




Relator challenges the decision by the unemployment law judge that relator is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because she quit without good reason caused by the employer.  We affirm.



Relator Elva Baumgartner was hired by respondent Independent School District No. 115 as an eighth-grade teacher in July 2003.  On April 15, 2005, Principal Steve Novak informed Baumgartner that she was assigned to teach fifth grade during the 2005-2006 school year.  Dissatisfied with the news that she had been assigned to teach fifth grade, Baumgartner attended the April 27 school board meeting to announce that she would resign if the reassignment decision stood. 

The next day, Baumgartner did not attend a fifth-grade team meeting because of a scheduling conflict.  On the following day, Baumgartner failed to attend the portion of the middle school in-service training devoted to fifth-grade planning because of her refusal to accept the reassignment.  Baumgartner did not advise Principal Novak that she would not attend the training, as is required by school policy.  Approximately two weeks later, Baumgartner, a member of the eighth-grade graduation committee, refused to comply with Principal Novak’s instructions regarding the graduation ceremony.  Based on these incidents, Principal Novak placed Baumgartner on paid disciplinary suspension beginning on May 18 for the remainder of the school year.

On August 1, Baumgartner submitted her letter of resignation to the school board.  Thereafter, Baumgartner applied for unemployment benefits, but her application was denied.  Baumgartner appealed, and a hearing was held before an unemployment law judge (ULJ).  The ULJ held that Baumgartner was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because “there was no good reason [caused by the employer] for Baumgartner to quit just because she was being transferred to a different grade’s team.”  The ULJ affirmed this decision on Baumgartner’s motion for reconsideration.  Baumgartner now brings a certiorari appeal of the ULJ’s decision.



            We review the decision by a ULJ to determine whether the factual findings are supported by substantial evidence on the record or the decision is affected by error of law.  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (Supp. 2005).  Whether an employee quit without a good reason caused by the employer 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).  But that conclusion must be based on findings that have the requisite evidentiary support.  Nichols v. Reliant Eng’g & Mfg., Inc., 720 N.W.2d 590, 594 (Minn. App. 2006).  We review the ULJ’s findings in the light most favorable to the decision, Lolling v. Midwest Patrol, 545 N.W.2d 372, 377 (Minn. 1996), giving deference to the credibility determinations made by the ULJ, Jenson v. Dep’t of Econ. Sec., 617 N.W.2d 627, 631 (Minn. App. 2000).

            An employee who voluntarily quits employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless the reason for quitting is a good reason caused by the employer.  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.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(a) (2004).

            The ULJ found that Baumgartner quit because she was reassigned to teach fifth grade.  Baumgartner argues that this finding is unsupported by the evidence.  Baumgartner maintains that she quit because Principal Novak discriminated against her because she is Hispanic and harassed her in retaliation for voicing her concerns about the quality of education the students were receiving.  But Baumgartner did not assert those reasons for quitting during the hearing before the ULJ or on her Department of Employment and Economic Development Applicant Quit form.  Moreover, the record is devoid of any evidentiary support for Baumgartner’s allegations that she was subjected to discrimination or harassment.[1]

Rather, Baumgartner consistently stated that she quit her employment because she was transferred to teach fifth grade.  On the applicant quit form, Baumgartner cited her reassignment to teach fifth grade as the reason for her resignation.  In response to the form’s question, “Did the employer do or fail to do something that caused you to quit?” Baumgartner stated, “Yes.  Mr. Novak took the job I had applied for away.  I had applied to teach 8th grade math not 5th grade.”  During the hearing before the ULJ, Baumgartner testified, “I quit because . . . Mr. Novak didn’t want me in the 8th grade and I believed he didn’t want me at all in the school.”  Moreover, shortly after Baumgartner announced her decision to quit her employment unless the reassignment to teach fifth grade was revoked, Baumgartner advised the school board of this decision.  This evidence amply supports the ULJ’s finding that Baumgartner quit because she was transferred to teach fifth grade.

            The ULJ held that the reassignment to teach fifth grade does not constitute a good reason to quit caused by the employer.  We agree.  A good reason caused by the employer “does not encompass situations where an employee experiences irreconcilable differences with others at work or where the employee is simply frustrated or dissatisfied with [her] working conditions.”  Portz v. Pipestone Skelgas, 397 N.W.2d 12, 14 (Minn. App. 1986).  The evidence demonstrates that Baumgartner was dissatisfied with the transfer to fifth grade, which caused irreconcilable differences between Baumgartner and Principal Novak.  She sought rescission of the reassignment by the school board and threatened to quit if the school board refused.  Although the reassignment from eighth grade to fifth grade caused Baumgartner to quit, it does not constitute a good reason to quit caused by the employer.

Baumgartner raises several additional arguments, namely, that Principal Novak should have been reprimanded, that the ULJ erroneously concluded that the school district believed Baumgartner was a quality teacher, and that Principal Novak defamed Baumgartner.  These arguments are not properly before us because they were raised for the first time on appeal.  Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988).  Moreover, the first two arguments would not afford Baumgartner the relief she seeks, and the last is without evidentiary support.

The ULJ’s decision that Baumgartner quit without good reason caused by the employer is supported by substantial evidence and is unaffected by legal error.  Accordingly, Baumgartner is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.


[1] After we conferred on this matter, Baumgartner sent to us an affidavit of her union representative, Jeff Wiebe.  In reviewing the ULJ’s decision, we do not consider evidence that is outside the record before the ULJ.  Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582-83 (Minn. 1988) (“An appellate court may not base its decision on matters outside the record on appeal, and may not consider matters not produced and received in evidence below.”).    Therefore, we did not consider this affidavit in reaching our decision.