This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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







Marcie M. Cotter,





Anderson Fabrics, Inc.,



Department of Employment and Economic Development,




Filed January 9, 2007


Huspeni, Judge*


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 313 06


Marcie M. Cotter, P.O. Box 245, Big Falls, MN 56627-0245 (pro se relator)


Anderson Fabrics, Inc., 348 Summit Avenue West, Blackduck, MN 56630-2137 (respondent employer)


Linda A. Holmes, Lee B. Nelson, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite #200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351 (for respondent department)



            Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge; Hudson, Judge; and Huspeni, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Relator was denied unemployment benefits by the Department of Employment and Economic Development, and that denial was affirmed after a hearing before an unemployment law judge (ULJ).  Cotter sought reconsideration, and the ULJ again affirmed the denial of benefits.  Because substantial evidence supports the determination that Cotter quit her job and that no exceptions to disqualification apply, we affirm. 


            Relator Marcie Cotter worked at Anderson Fabrics, a manufacturer of window and bedding products, from mid-October 2004 until mid-December 2005.  During this year, she missed 396.5 hours of work, or just under 50 workdays.  In early December, Cotter spoke with her supervisor, Deb Larsen, about her absences and stated that she would need still more time off to care for her very ill mother.  Cotter testified that Larsen informed her that she probably was going to be laid off after the 2005-06 holidays because she had missed too many hours.  Larsen, however, encouraged Cotter to keep working through the holidays, but Cotter missed two more days of work due to bad weather.  On December 15, she called Larsen and told her that she would not be able to make it the rest of the week because she quit.

            The human resources manager at Anderson Fabrics testified that the company advised all of the people with very high absentee rates that they could face a possible layoff at the end of the year, and that the company did lay off four people on January 6, 2006.  She stated that the company made its firing determinations after the beginning of the year, and that Larsen would not have been able to give Cotter an exact date when she would be laid off. 


Standard of Review

This court will reverse a ULJ’s decision when it reflects an error of law, is “arbitrary or capricious,” or the findings 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 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). 

Voluntary Quit

The ULJ determined that Cotter quit her employment and that no exception to disqualification applied.  “An employee who has been notified that the employee will be discharged in the future, who chooses to end the employment while employment in any capacity is still available, shall be considered to have quit the employment.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 2(b) (2004). 

Cotter appears to argue that she was, in fact, laid off from work, because before she quit, she was informed by her supervisor that she would be laid off in a week.  Substantial evidence in the record, however, contradicts Cotter’s argument that she was laid off.  She testified that she told her employer that she quit.  The human resources manager at the company confirmed this testimony.  Cotter stated in her application for unemployment benefits that she quit.  She also indicated on the application that the company had done nothing to cause her to quit, and that she ended her employment because of her mother’s serious health problems and because she expected to be laid off in the near future.  Larsen encouraged Cotter to work through the holidays.  The statute makes clear that quitting in response to notification of discharge is still a quit if employment is available in any capacity.  Therefore, the ULJ did not err in holding that Cotter quit. 

Exceptions to Disqualification

An applicant who quits employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless an exception applies.  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1 (Supp. 2005).  Cotter does not specifically claim that any exceptions apply.  She appears to argue on appeal, however, that she quit because her supervisor told her she would be laid off, and implies that this statement provided good reason for quitting caused by Anderson Fabrics.  But the law clearly states that a notification of discharge in the future, including a layoff, does not constitute good reason caused by the employer for quitting.  Id., subd. 3(e) (2004).

In addition to stressing that she was told she would be laid off, Cotter notes the number of layoffs that actually occurred after the holidays and states that her job title had been entirely eliminated by the company.  By these statements, Cotter appears to infer that this case falls under a statutory exception allowing limited benefits if the applicant quit because their employer advised them they would be laid off due to lack of work.  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(6).[1]  This attempted argument fails for two reasons.  First, the record shows that Cotter’s supervisor told her that she may be laid off because she had missed too many work days in the prior year, and not because her job title was being eliminated or because of lack of work.  Second, credible testimony indicated that Larsen was unable to provide a timeline for the layoffs and knew only that the company would possibly lay off workers after the first of the year.  According to Cotter’s own testimony, Larsen informed her on or about December 6, 2005, that she may be laid off after the holidays.  Cotter indicated in her application for benefits that she was told she would be laid off in a week.  Cotter’s own evidence is contradictory, and additional evidence in the record indicates that there was no scheduled lay-off date or 30-day notification as required by the statute.  Thus, no exception to disqualification based on quitting employment applies here. 

This court can reverse a determination of a ULJ only if that determination reflects an error of law, is “arbitrary or capricious,” or the findings are “unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d).  Substantial evidence supports the ULJ’s finding of disqualification in this case.   


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

[1] Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(6), provides an exception to disqualification if an employee quits employment, if “the applicant quit because the employer notified the applicant that the applicant was going to be laid off due to lack of work within 30 calendar days.”