may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Russell L. Foreshee,
St. Croix Forge, Inc.,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed August 25, 1998
Department of Economic Security
File No. 9602 UC 97
Russell L. Foreshee, P.O. Box 165, Chisago City, Minnesota 55013 (pro se relator)
William A. Cumming, Hessian & McKasy, P.A., 4700 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402 (for respondent St. Croix Forge, Inc.)
Kent E. Todd, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101 (for respondent Commissioner of Economic Security)
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Norton, Judge.
Relator Russell L. Foreshee challenges the decision of respondent Commissioner of Economic Security disqualifying him from receiving reemployment insurance benefits on grounds that respondent St. Croix Forge, Inc., discharged him for misconduct. We affirm.
Foreshee was employed as a full-time foundry worker by St. Croix Forge from August 1995 until November 1997. During the summer of 1997, Foreshee suffered an on-the-job injury and was no longer able to perform his normal work duties. Consequently, St. Croix Forge contracted with Alternative Duty, a temporary service, to provide Foreshee with light work duty.
Foreshee began working at Alternative Duty on October 6, 1997. On his first day of employment, Foreshee was verbally warned about his attitude. After that initial warning, Foreshee continued to display intimidating behavior at work and received a written warning.
On November 5, 1997, Sonia Gorski, the director of Alternative Duty, called a meeting of the light-duty employees. Gorski explained to them that things were getting
out of control and certain employees were causing problems that would not be tolerated. Foreshee believed that Gorski was talking about him and became angry, yelling and swearing. Gorski had to call the police in order to have Foreshee removed from the facility because she feared for her safety, as well as the safety of the other employees. As a result of this conduct, Foreshee was terminated from employment with St. Croix Forge.
In his pro se brief, Foreshee claims the determination of the commissioner's representative is erroneous because there was no clear showing of any of the statutory factors required to demonstrate misconduct. Specifically, Foreshee asserts that Alternative Duty does not have any "business" that was "interfered with" as a result of his conduct. We disagree.
The commissioner's representative found that Foreshee's conduct at the Alternative Duty meeting, while impulsive, was intentional conduct in disregard of the standards of behavior the employer has a right to expect of an employee. Thus, the commissioner's representative concluded that Foreshee was disqualified from receiving reemployment insurance benefits because he had committed misconduct as defined in section 268.09, subd. 12 (Supp. 1997). A claimant who is discharged from employment by an employer shall not be disqualified from benefits:
(1) unless the claimant was discharged because of misconduct that interfered with and adversely affected that employment.
Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 10.
Misconduct is intentional conduct showing a disregard of:
(1) the employer's interest;
(2) the standards of behavior that an employer has the right to expect of the employee; or
(3) the employee's duties and obligations to the employer. * * *
Id., subd. 12. Refusal to follow an employer's reasonable request generally constitutes misconduct. Sandstrom v. Douglas Mach. Corp., 372 N.W.2d 89, 91 (Minn. App. 1985). A court will consider whether an employee ignored past warnings. Ress, 448 N.W.2d at 524. Further, a hostile or offensive attitude may be considered disqualifying misconduct. See Booher v. Transport Clearings, 260 N.W.2d 181, 183 (Minn. 1977) (finding employee committed misconduct by spreading rumors and causing dissension among coworkers); see also Pitzel v. Packaged Furniture & Carpet, 362 N.W.2d 357, 357 (Minn. App. 1985) (finding misconduct when the employee had "erratic and disruptive" behavior and remained aggressive and offensive after several warnings).
The evidence in the record supports the commissioner's representative's findings that, while performing light-duty work for Alternative Duty, Foreshee (1) was warned about his attitude, but continued to display intimidating and angry behavior; and (2) yelled, swore, and made threats during a group meeting, forcing his supervisor to call the police.
We conclude that the record supports the commissioner's representative's conclusion that Foreshee was disqualified from receiving reemployment insurance benefits because he committed misconduct that interfered with and adversely affected the work environment of Alternative Duty, a client company of his employer St. Croix Forge. See Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 10(1) (an individual who has been discharged for misconduct that interfered with and adversely affected that employment is disqualified from payment of reemployment insurance). Foreshee's conduct at the Alternative Duty meeting on November 5, 1997, was so disruptive that his supervisor needed to call the police to have him removed. This behavior constituted misconduct that showed a disregard for the standards of behavior that St. Croix Forge has the right to expect of him. See Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 12 (2) (misconduct definition).
*Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. Art. VI, § 10.