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Hayes v. K-Mart Corp.

July 22, 2003

GLORIA A. HAYES, RELATOR,
v.
K-MART CORPORATION, RESPONDENT, COMMISSIONER OF EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, RESPONDENT.



Department of E mployment and Economic Development File No. 11792 02

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Where an employer breaches the employment agreement by failing to grant an employee a promised pay increase, the employee has good reason caused by the employer for quitting and is not disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation benefits under Minn. Stat. §á268.095, subd. 1(1) (2002).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert H. Schumacher, Judge

Reversed

OPINION

Relator Gloria A. Hayes appeals from respondent Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development's determination that she was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because she voluntarily quit her employment without good cause attributable to her employer, respondent K-Mart Corporation. We reverse.

FACTS

Hayes began working at a K-Mart store in Minneapolis in November 1996. Pursuant to K-Mart policy, Hayes was scheduled to receive an annual wage adjustment each November. By March 2001, Hayes had not yet received her November 2000 wage adjustment. She met with the store manager, who gave her the annual wage adjustment retroactive to the previous November, promoted her to manager of the toy department, and gave her a raise in conjunction with the promotion.

At the same meeting, Hayes informed the manager that she wanted an hourly raise in addition to the raise she received in conjunction with the promotion. The manager told Hayes the two would meet again in May and"he would do something about a raise." Despite persistent effort, Hayes was unable to schedule a meeting with the store manager in May or after. In November 2001, Hayes received her annual scheduled pay adjustment. In June 2002, when Hayes learned of the manager's imminent departure from the store, she again asked him about the raise. He told her he would"take care of it before he left." The manager did not get Hayes the raise before he left.

In June 2002, Hayes quit her job because of K-Mart's failure to give her the pay raise and because of her work load, which she considered excessive for including tasks typically assigned to other managers. Before quitting, Hayes rejected an offer of a temporary raise of $.50 per hour from the store human resources manager, who conceded at the time that she was not authorized to offer the raise.

Hayes filed a claim for unemployment benefits with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. An unemployment law judge determined Hayes was disqualified from receiving benefits under Minn. Stat. §á268.095, subd. 1(1) (2002) because she quit her job without a good reason caused by the employer. On appeal, a representative of the Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development also concluded Hayes was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because neither the failure to grant a promised raise of an unspecified amount nor the requirement that Hayes perform other managers' tasks constituted good cause to quit.

ISSUE

Did Hayes quit for good cause attributable to her employer such that she qualifies for unemployment benefits under Minn. Stat. ...


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