This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).






Judith A. Hendren,





Allina Medical Group (Corp),



Department of Employment and Economic Development,



Filed March 27, 2007


Shumaker, Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 1369 06



Judith A. Hendren, 10932 7th Street N.E., Blaine, MN 55434-1713 (pro se relator)


Allina Medical Group (Corp), c/o Allina Health System, P.O. Box 1469, Minneapolis, MN 55440-1469 (respondent employer)


Lee B. Nelson, Linda A. Holmes, 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 Klaphake, Presiding Judge; Willis, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.


U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Relator challenges the unemployment-law judge’s determination that her employer discharged her for misconduct when she changed information in her own medical record.  Because relator’s conduct was a single incident that did not have a significant adverse impact on her employer within the meaning of Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 6(a) (2004), we reverse.  


            RelatorJudith A. Hendren worked for Allina Medical Group as a registration scheduler at the Coon Rapids clinic from June 28, 2004, to December 20, 2005.  Allina has a confidentiality policy that prohibits “[a]ccessing medical or salary information for personal reasons.”  At her 2005 yearly review, Hendren signed an acknowledgment of the confidentiality policy.   

            On October 20, 2005, Hendren ordered her medical chart to request sample medications from her physician.  She testified that when the chart came, she opened it and saw that the chart incorrectly listed her marital status as married, although she was divorced, and incorrectly stated the amount of her alcohol consumption as three shots in a single drink, when she believed it should have read three drinks.  Hendren crossed out the incorrect information and then submitted the chart to her doctor. 

            Another employee reported to a supervisor that Hendren had changed information in her chart.  The supervisor was going to discuss the matter with Hendren, but another issue with Hendren’s employment intervened, and Hendren took a medical leave on October 25.  After she returned to work in December, she was discharged.

            Hendren acknowledged that she changed the information on her chart, but she testified she did not believe that the confidentiality policy applied to changing information on her own chart because it was her personal information.  She testified that she asked another employee immediately after she made the change whether she would “get in trouble” and that she did not know the employer’s policy on such a change.  She also testified that she “thought [it was] maybe not a good idea but . . . honestly didn’t think [she] was doing any violating [because it was her] own chart.”  She later told her doctor that she had made the change.  The doctor did not object. 

            Hendren filed for unemployment benefits.  A department adjudicator denied benefits on the ground that Hendren was discharged for employment misconduct. Hendren appealed.  After a hearing, an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) also determined that Hendren was discharged because of misconduct and that she was disqualified from receiving benefits.  On reconsideration, the ULJ affirmed his decision.  This certiorari appeal followed. 



This court on review may affirm an unemployment-law judge’s decision, remand it for further proceedings, or reverse or modify it

if the substantial rights of the petitioner may have been prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusion or decision are:



(1)              in violation of constitutional provisions;

(2)              in excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of       the department;

(3)              made upon unlawful procedure;

(4)              affected by other error of law;

(5)              unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the           entire record as submitted; or

(6)              arbitrary or capricious.


Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (2006). 


            A person who is discharged from employment because of employment misconduct is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 4(1) (2004).  Whether an employee committed a particular act is a question of fact.  Scheunemann v. Radisson S. Hotel, 562 N.W.2d 32, 34 (Minn. App. 1997).  But whether an employee’s acts constitute misconduct is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo.  Schmidgall v. FilmTec Corp., 644 N.W.2d 801, 804 (Minn. 2002). 

            Employment misconduct includes “any intentional, negligent, or indifferent conduct, on the job or off the job . . . that displays clearly a serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has the right to reasonably expect of the employee . . . .”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 6(a) (2004).  “Inefficiency, inadvertence, simple unsatisfactory conduct, [or] a single incident that does not have a significant adverse impact on the employer . . . are not employment misconduct.”   Id.   

            The ULJ found that Hendren was discharged for employment misconduct because “she knowingly violated the policy of Allina which stated that it was a violation for an employee to access medical . . . information for person reasons.”  The ULJ also found that if Hendren had doubts about whether the policy applied to a person changing his or her own medical records, she “could have asked management about the correct procedure.” 

            We recognize that the confidentiality of medical records is an important issue for healthcare employers.  Group Health Plan, Inc. v. Lopez, 341 N.W.2d 294, 297 (Minn. App. 1983).  Nonetheless, Hendren’s single act of changing two items of background personal information on her own chart did not have a significant adverse impact on her employer.  Further, the record shows that, after learning of the change, Hendren’s doctor approved it.  Based on this record, substantial evidence does not support the ULJ’s determination that Hendren was discharged for employment misconduct, and we reverse.  

            Because we reverse on the ground that Hendren’s behavior constituted a single act without a significant adverse impact on her employer, we need not reach the other issues she raises on appeal.