There were two decisions on unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued this week.  Both decisions were issued on Monday 9/15/2014.

The first decision involves a certified nursing assistant who was discharged for employment misconduct and subsequently denied benefits.  The second involves a bus driver who had quit her job and was found to meet an exception to the general rule that a person who quits in ineligible for unemployment benefits, but was ultimately denied benefits because she was not available for suitable employment.  Both decisions were affirmed.

A13-2369, Cathy Justice, Relator, vs. Glacial Ridge Hospital, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.


Relator challenges the decision of an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) determining that she is ineligible for unemployment benefits because she was discharged for employment misconduct.  The misconduct included ongoing insubordination issues, failing to work in a respectful manner, having conflicts with co-workers, not wanting to complete required job duties, and continuing to leave the unit for long periods when on the job.  Because substantial evidence supports the ULJ’s determination that relator committed employment misconduct by displaying clearly a serious violation of the standard of behavior her employer had the right to expect, the Court of Appeals affirmed.

A14-0049, Ja'Na Dickens, Relator, vs. Metropolitan Council, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.


Relator challenges the decision of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that she is ineligible during the period for which she sought benefits because she was not available for or actively seeking suitable employment.   On September 3, 2013, relator Ja’Na Dickens quit her employment as a bus operator for the Metropolitan Council because the position, which required frequent nighttime and weekend shifts, interfered with her ability to care for her terminally ill son. Dickens returned to her former position as a school bus operator, working part-time from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, but continued looking for an additional part-time or a full-time transportation position. Dickens limited her search to positions with daytime hours and limited weekend work so she could care for her son.

Dickens applied for unemployment benefits. Respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) determined that Dickens is not subject to the general rule that one who quits employment is ineligible for all unemployment benefits because Dickens quit in order to provide necessary medical care for her son. But DEED determined that Dickens is nonetheless ineligible for benefits because she was not available for suitable employment.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision, concluding that, while Dickens’s decision to prioritize being available to care for her son over being available for work is understandable, it renders her ineligible for benefits. Accordingly, the ULJ did not err by determining that Dickens was not available for suitable employment during her period of unemployment and therefore was ineligible to receive unemployment benefits.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation. 



08/26/2015 3:10am

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