may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed October 6, 1998
Department of Economic Security
File No. 9456UC97
Dana Castonguay-Hull, 701 West 2nd Street C31, Duluth, MN 55806 (pro se relator)
Frank Yetka, Rudy Gassert Yetka Doran & Pritchett, P.A., 123 Avenue C, Cloquet, MN 55720 (for respondent employer)
Kent E. Todd, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Davies, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Short, Judge.
Dana Castonguay-Hull, a program counselor for Pinewood-Duluth, was terminated from employment because she was excessively tardy. By writ of certiorari, Castonguay-Hull appeals from the commissioner's denial of reemployment insurance benefits due to misconduct.
The reemployment insurance fund is available only to persons involuntarily "unemployed through no fault of their own." Minn. Stat. § 268.03 (Supp. 1997); White v. Metropolitan Med. Ctr., 332 N.W.2d 25, 26 (Minn. 1983). Therefore, an employee discharged for misconduct is disqualified from receiving reemployment insurance benefits. Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 10(1) (Supp. 1997). The employer has the burden of proving the employee's misconduct. Ress v. Abbott Northwestern Hosp., Inc., 448 N.W.2d 519, 523 (Minn. 1989). Our review of the commissioner's factual findings is limited to whether the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the decision below, supports that decision. Id. However, we review de novo whether those facts constitute misconduct. Id.
Castonguay-Hull argues the evidence of her excessive tardiness does not support the commissioner's conclusion that she demonstrated a disregard for her employer's "standard of behavior" and thus, does not constitute misconduct as a matter of law. See Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 12 (Supp. 1997) (defining "misconduct"); Tilseth v. Midwest Lumber Co., 295 Minn. 372, 374-75, 204 N.W.2d 644, 646 (1973) (providing definition of misconduct) (quoting Boynton Cab. Co. v. Neubeck, 296 N.W. 636, 640 (Wis. 1941)). However, the record demonstrates: (1) contrary to company policy, Castonguay-Hull was repeatedly late for work and returned late from lunch on several occasions; (2) despite having an allegedly pre-existing medical condition, Castonguay-Hull failed to inform her employer of the condition, or provide the employer with any medical restrictions or medical documentation connecting her tardiness to that condition; and (3) Castonguay-Hull had previously received written and verbal warnings, and a two-day suspension for tardiness. Given these facts and our limited standard of review, we conclude Castonguay-Hull's excessive tardiness constituted a disregard for the standards of behavior that an employer has a right to expect from its employees, and constitutes "misconduct" under Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 10(1). See Ress, 448 N.W.2d at 524 (concluding when conducting misconduct analysis, courts examine whether employee deliberately violated standards of behavior that employer has right to expect of its employee, whether employee's conduct adversely affected business or other employee's morale, and whether employee ignored past warnings); cf. McLean v. Plastics, Inc., 378 N.W.2d 104, 107 (Minn. App. 1985) (affirming disqualification where former employee was excessively absent and had received prior warnings). Furthermore, Castonguay-Hull's failure to inform her employer of her pre-existing medical condition and her admission that the "disability does not affect my tardiness" renders Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 10(1)(i) (Supp. 1997) inapplicable. See Minn. Stat. § 268.09, subd. 10(1)(i) (providing exception to disqualification for misconduct directly resulting from claimant's serious illness where claimant made reasonable efforts to retain employment in spite of that illness).