This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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







Joseph W. Fisher,





Bayport Marina Association,



Department of Employment and

Economic Development,




Filed January 9, 2007

Klaphake, Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 18181 05


Joseph W. Fisher, 2440 Bayberry Avenue, Stillwater, MN  55082-5230 (pro se relator)


Bayport Marina Association, 200 5th Avenue South, Bayport, MN  55003-1468 (respondent)


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


            Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Ross, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Relator Joseph W. Fisher challenges a decision by an unemployment law judge (ULJ), affirming the ULJ’s earlier decision that relator quit his job without good reason caused by his employer, respondent Bayport Marina Association.  Relator argues that he had good reason to quit because his employer failed to provide him with a trained assistant or spotter at all times, which raised safety concerns.

            Because the evidence supports the ULJ’s determination that the employer provided relator with an assistant when requested and that relator failed to properly make use of that assistant, particularly during the final incident during which relator decided to walk away from his job rather than ask for help, we agree that relator quit his job without good reason caused by his employer.  We therefore affirm the ULJ’s determination that relator is disqualified from receiving benefits.


            This court may reverse a ULJ’s decision if it reflects an error of law, is “arbitrary and capricious,” or contains findings that are “unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (Supp. 2005).  Minnesota courts have defined “substantial evidence” as “(1) such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion; (2) more than a mere 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).

            An individual who quits employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless the quit was “because of a good reason caused by the employer.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(1) (Supp. 2005).  A good reason caused by the employer 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).  If an individual is subject to adverse working conditions, he must complain to the employer and give the employer an opportunity to correct those conditions.  Id., subd. 3(c).

            “The standard for determining good cause is that standard of reasonableness as applied to the average man or woman, and not to the supersensitive.”  Erb v. Comm’r of Econ. Sec., 601 N.W.2d 716, 718 (Minn. App. 1999) (quotation omitted).  The issue is whether “the employer made unreasonable demands of [the] employee that no one person could be expected to meet.”  Zepp v. Arthur Treacher Fish & Chips, 272 N.W.2d 262, 263 (Minn. 1978) (concluding that employee had good reason to quit when employer doubled workload and hours over two-year period).  Good reason to quit is not shown merely because the employee has irreconcilable differences with his employer or when an employee is simply frustrated or dissatisfied with his working conditions.  Ryks v. Nieuwsma Livestock Equip., 410 N.W.2d 380, 382 (Minn. App. 1987).

            Relator was hired in November 1998 by Bayport Marina as a marina yard foreman.  At several times during his employment, he expressed concerns to management about the lack of help provided to him in performing his duties; relator believed that he needed an assistant or a spotter to help him when he was hauling boats in and out of the water.

            In August 2005, relator approached the service manager about getting help for the upcoming fall boat “haul out.”  The manager told relator that he would speak to the general manager about scheduling additional helpers, which he did.

            On September 30, 2005, relator was moving a 40-foot boat out of the water with a hydraulic lift.  Relator noticed that the spotters that had been assigned to him were not around but instead were up at the marina “shooting the bull.”  Relator was upset, turned in his keys, and told the general manager that he was quitting because he was not getting the help that he needed.

            Relator asserts that he quit because his employer failed to provide him with an assistant at all times, not just when one was available.  He claims that over the years of his employment, he repeatedly asked his employer for additional help and was always promised that it would be taken care of but it never was.  He further claims that the ULJ failed to understand what was at stake:  “operating heavy equipment [and] pushing boats around the marina in basically a totally blind situation.”

            When examining an objection to working conditions that is based on an employee’s safety concerns, the ULJ should determine whether the employee’s concerns were reasonable “based on the information known to the employee at the time, not whether the conditions were ‘in fact’ safe.”  Haskins v. Choice Auto Rental, Inc., 558 N.W.2d 507, 511 (Minn. App. 1997).  Here, the ULJ found that relator “quit in part because he felt that the marina was not supplying him with needed help.”  The ULJ appears to have found that relator’s concerns were reasonable; indeed, neither of the employer’s witnesses made any claim at the hearing that relator’s concerns were unfounded or unreasonable.  Thus, we can conclude that the safety issues raised by relator were real:  he needed an assistant or a spotter when he was hauling boats in and out of the water.

            The ULJ nevertheless determined that relator quit without good cause because his employer provided help to him when it was requested.  In particular, the ULJ found that the employer’s witnesses both testified that “when [relator] did ask for help it was provided and that there were occasions when [relator] did not use the help provided even though offered.”  The ULJ further found that even if relator had valid concerns about staffing, he failed to “clearly express these concerns to the marina’s management and give them an opportunity to address them before quitting.”  Because relator could have walked up to the marina and gotten the help that he needed, we conclude that it was entirely unreasonable for him to turn in his keys and quit his job.  See Peppi v. Phyllis Wheatley Cmty. Ctr., 614 N.W.2d 750, 752 (Minn. App. 2000) (stating that issue of whether particular reason for quitting constitutes good cause involves question of law that we review de novo).  We therefore affirm the decision of the ULJ that relator quit his job without good reason caused by his employer.