This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






Lucille A. Hennings,





Team Industries Bagley-Audubon, Inc.,



Department of Employment and Economic Development,




Filed April 10, 2007


Worke, Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development,

File No. 2519 06



Lucille A. Hennings, 621 Second Street, Hawley, MN 56549 (relator pro se)


Team Industries Bagley-Audubon, Inc., P. O. Box 277, Audubon, MN 56511 (respondent employer)


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


            Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Worke, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

WORKE, Judge

            On certiorari appeal, relator challenges the unemployment-law judge’s decision that she did not quit her employment for a good reason caused by the employer and was disqualified from receiving benefits, ruling that although her workplace was not enjoyable, she had not been treated so unreasonably that the average employee would have quit rather than continue working under the circumstances.  We affirm.


            Relator Lucille A. Hennings argues that the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) erred in determining that she was disqualified from the receipt of unemployment benefits.  This court may affirm the decision of the ULJ, remand the case for further proceedings, or reverse or modify the decision 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).  We view the ULJ’s findings in the light most favorable to the decision.  Ress v. Abbott Nw. Hosp., Inc., 448 N.W.2d 519, 523 (Minn. 1989).  And we will not disturb findings that are sufficiently supported by the record.  Id.  

            The ULJ decided that relator quit her employment and was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.  An applicant who quits employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless a statutory exception applies.  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1 (Supp. 2005). 

            Relator worked for respondent Team Industries Bagley-Audubon, Inc. (Team) as a production planner.  On January 17, 2006, an incident occurred that “pushed [relator] over the edge.”  That day, relator’s manager questioned her about mistakes that resulted in products not being shipped.  Relator told her manager, as she had on previous occasions, that the mistakes were a result of a system issue that began approximately two weeks earlier.  Relator’s manager told her that she needed to get better at her job or she would not have one.   Relator told her manager that the problem was not something that she could correct.   Relator did not go to Team’s human-resources department and report that her manager was reprimanding her for a problem that was out of her control to correct.  Relator went home sick, but returned to work the next day.  On January 19, 2006, relator quit her employment. 

            It is undisputed that relator quit her employment, but relator argues that she is still entitled to receive unemployment benefits because she had a good reason to quit caused by her employer.  An exception to disqualification applies when the applicant “quit the employment because of a good reason caused by the employer.”  Id., subd. 1(1).  “What constitutes good reason caused by the employer is defined exclusively by statute.”  Rootes v. Wal-Mart Assocs., Inc., 669 N.W.2d 416, 418 (Minn. App. 2003); Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(g) (2004) (providing that statutory definition is exclusive and that no other definition shall apply). 

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.


Id., subd. 3(a) (2004).  “[T]here must be some compulsion produced by extraneous and necessitous circumstances.”  Ferguson v. Dep’t of Employment Servs., 311 Minn. 34, 44 n.5, 247 N.W.2d 895, 900 n.5 (1976).  The “reasonable-worker” standard is objective and is applied to the average person rather than the super-sensitive.  Id.  “The determination that an employee quit without good reason [caused by] the employer is a legal conclusion, but the 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).

            Relator contends that her employer caused her to quit because her manager treated her unfairly and blamed her for problems caused by a fault in the computer system.  But a good reason to quit 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 his working conditions.”  Portz v. Pipestone Skelgas, 397 N.W.2d 12, 14 (Minn. App. 1986).  Although the ULJ found that a fault in the computer system caused delays in orders being shipped and that the “supervisors almost never gave any positive reinforcement . . . . were often critical . . . . [and] [s]ometimes [relator] and her coworkers would get blamed for things that were not their fault,” the ULJ concluded that relator failed to show that she was treated so unreasonably that the average employee would choose to be unemployed rather than continuing working under the conditions.  Therefore, although relator was unhappy with the computer system, presumably everyone affected by the fault in the computer system was dissatisfied.  And although relator contends that she was being blamed for the delays in shipments, there was evidence that Team was investigating the issue, and thus, was aware that the delays were not relator’s fault.   

Additionally, while an adverse working condition may constitute a good reason caused by the employer, an employee “must complain to the employer and give the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct the adverse working conditions before that may be considered a good reason caused by the employer for quitting.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 3(c) (2004).  But relator failed to complain to anyone about the way her supervisor treated her, claiming that she did not believe that anything could have been done to correct the problem.  However, it is likely that something could have been done because current Team employees testified that the person with whom relator had problems was no longer in a managerial position.  Relator did not seek help, and Team cannot be held responsible for not correcting a situation that it was not aware existed. 

Further, even though the ULJ found that relator’s supervisor told her that she would have to do better work or find a new job, notification of future discharge is not a good reason to quit.  Id., subd. 3(e) (2004).  Therefore, even if relator felt that her employment with Team was in jeopardy because of her manager’s threat that she must do a better job, that is not a reason to quit.

            Finally, in order for relator to have quit for a good reason caused by her employer, the reason has to be one “that would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and become unemployed rather than remaining in the employment.”  Id., subd. 3(a)(3).  Current Team employees testified that it was difficult to work under the manager who supervised relator.  But these employees did not quit their employment.  Relator has not shown how her situation under the same manager was any different from these employees who are still employed by Team.  Therefore, the average worker would not have felt compelled to quit employment.