Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 29792696-3
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kirk, Judge
This opinion will be unpublished and may not be cited except as provided by Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2012).
Considered and decided by Kirk, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Hudson, Judge.
Relator challenges the determination of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that she is ineligible for unemployment benefits because she was discharged for employment misconduct. We affirm.
In October 1997, relator Teresa Campbell began working part time at respondent POS Plus, Inc., a small company that buys and sells cash-register systems and peripheral devices. From October 1999 until April 2012, Campbell worked full-time at POS Plus cleaning plastic and equipment. POS Plus requires employees to call in before their shift begins if they are going to be absent.
Prior to 2012, Campbell was frequently absent due to illness, although she properly reported those absences before her shift began. Campbell received verbal warnings from her supervisor about her attendance on multiple occasions.
In 2012, Campbell's absences due to illness continued. In January, Campbell called in sick to work on four days, reporting that she was having problems with her knee. In February, Campbell called in sick on five days due to knee problems, was late to work once, and left work early for a doctor's appointment once. In March, Campbell had knee surgery and was absent from work for the entire month because of complications from the surgery. Campbell returned to work on April 2 with work restrictions from her doctor. Because of those restrictions, POS Plus allowed her to sit while she performed her job. From April 10 through 13, Campbell called in sick, stating that she was having issues with her knee. Campbell properly reported all of her absences by calling POS Plus at least 30 minutes prior to the time she was scheduled to be at work.
On April 16, Campbell called POS Plus and reported she would be absent from work because her dog was sick. On April 17, Campbell again called in sick to work because of her dog's illness. That morning, Campbell, who does not drive, and her husband brought their dog back to the veterinarian, who performed emergency surgery and then kept their dog overnight. Campbell called in sick on April 18, and that afternoon she returned to the veterinarian with her husband to pick up their dog. On April 19, Campbell again called in sick because of her dog's illness. Later that day, the owner of POS Plus called Campbell and discharged her.
Campbell applied for unemployment benefits, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) determined that Campbell was eligible for unemployment benefits. After POS Plus appealed DEED's determination, a ULJ held an evidentiary hearing. At the hearing, the owner of POS Plus testified that he discharged Campbell for being late or absent from work, which put stress on the other employees of his small business.
Following the hearing, the ULJ determined that Campbell was ineligible for unemployment benefits because she was discharged for employment misconduct. The ULJ found that at least some of Campbell's absences related to her knee were avoidable and that at least two or three of the four absences due to her dog's illness were avoidable because Campbell acknowledged that her husband also missed work to be with their dog. As a result, the ULJ determined that "[w]hen viewed as a whole, Campbell's poor attendance was intentional, ...