This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






Janita A. Larson,








Department of Employment and Economic Development,



Filed December 26, 2006


Randall, Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 11365 05


Janita A. Larson, N17637 North Fourth Street, Galesville, WI  54630-8503 (pro se relator)


Semcac, 204 South Elm Street, P.O. Box 549, Rushford, MN  55971-0549 (respondent company)


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

            Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Stoneburner, Judge.



U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Relator challenges the decision that her request for reconsideration of the denial of unemployment benefits was untimely.  We affirm.


            Relator Janita Larson established an unemployment benefit account with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) after her employment at Semcac was terminated.  A department adjudicator initially determined that relator was disqualified from receiving benefits because she quit her employment for other than good reason caused by her employer.  Relator appealed and, following a de novo hearing, the unemployment law judge (ULJ) affirmed the initial determination that relator was disqualified from receiving benefits.  The ULJ found that relator was discharged from her employment for reasons pertaining to illegal possession of marijuana.  The decision was mailed on September 1, 2005, and stated that the decision would become final if relator did not request reconsideration within 30 days of the date the decision was mailed.  

            On February 8, 2006, 160 days after the mailing of the ULJ’s decision, relator filed a request for reconsideration.  Shortly thereafter, the ULJ issued an order dismissing relator’s request for reconsideration on the basis that it was untimely.  This certiorari appeal followed.



            On review of the ULJ’s decision, this court may affirm, remand for further proceedings, or reverse or modify the decision.  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (Supp. 2005).  Reversal or modification is appropriate when relator’s substantial rights were prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusion, or decision are affected by error of law or unsupported by substantial evidence.  Id.  The timeline of an appeal presents a question of law, and is thus reviewed de novo.  Harms v. Oak Meadows, 619 N.W.2d 201, 202 (Minn. 2000).

            An administrative agency’s jurisdiction depends entirely on the statute under which it operates, and neither agencies nor courts may enlarge their powers beyond that contemplated by the legislature.  Peoples Natural Gas Co. v. Minn. Pub. Utils. Comm’n, 369 N.W.2d 530, 534 (Minn. 1985).  Thus, if the ULJ makes an error in a decision, “any involved applicant . . . may, within 30 calendar days of the sending of the unemployment law judge’s decision under subdivision 1, file a request for reconsideration.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2(a) (Supp. 2005).  But if 30 days pass without a request for reconsideration, the decision of the ULJ becomes final.  Id., subd. 1(c) (Supp. 2005).  The 30-day statutory time limitation for appeal is “absolute and unambiguous” and must be strictly construed.  Semanko v. Dep’t of Employment Servs., 309 Minn. 425, 430, 244 N.W.2d 663, 666 (1976); see King v. Univ. of Minn., 387 N.W.2d 675, 677 (Minn. App. 1986) (stating that the time for reconsideration from decisions of all levels of the department of employment should be strictly construed), review denied (Minn. Aug. 13, 1986).  

            Here, relator requests unemployment compensation for being discharged from her employment for what she claims was no apparent reason.  She contends that because her request was filed within a 30-day period from the dismissal of the criminal charges brought against her, which led to her employment discharge, her request for reconsideration of the September 1, 2005 decision was not untimely.  We disagree.  The appeal period begins at the time of the mailing of the decision of the ULJ, and not at the termination of any other tangential administrative proceedings.  Moreover, there are no statutory provisions allowing for extensions or exceptions to the appeal period. The 30-calendar-day time limitation is absolute, and this rule was unambiguously explained in the disqualification notice sent to relator.  Because relator filed her request for reconsideration after the 30-day time limitation had expired, the department properly concluded that it was deprived of jurisdiction to conduct further review.