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Baerman v. U.S. Department of Justice

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

May 13, 2013

Clara J. Baerman, Relator,
v.
U.S. Department of Justice/Federal Prison System (FIC 430/Dest 14), Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 29579201-3

Darren M. Sharp, Schaefer Law Firm, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for relator) U.S. Department of Justice/Federal Prison System (FIC 430/Dest 14), Kansas City, Missouri (respondent employer)

Lee B. Nelson, Christine E. Hinrichs, Department of Employment and Economic Development, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent department)

Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Klaphake, Judge.

KLAPHAKE, Judge [*]

In this certiorari appeal, relator Clara Baerman challenges the determination of the unemployment law judge (ULJ) that she is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because she quit her employment without a good reason caused by her employer and that no exception to ineligibility applies. Because the specific facts of this case show that relator's fears for her safety were reasonable, we reverse the determination of ineligibility.

DECISION

When reviewing the decision of a ULJ, this court may affirm, remand for further proceedings, or reverse or modify if the substantial rights of the relator were prejudiced because the ULJ's decision was affected by errors of law or was otherwise "unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record as submitted." Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d)(4), (5) (2012).

"The determination that an employee quit without good reason attributable to the employer is a legal conclusion, but the conclusion must be based on findings that have the requisite evidentiary support." Nichols v. Reliant Eng'g & Mfg., Inc., 720 N.W.2d 590, 594 (Minn.App. 2006). "[W]e will not disturb the ULJ's factual findings when the evidence substantially sustains them." Skarhus v. Davanni's Inc., 721 N.W.2d 340, 344 (Minn.App. 2006).

Under Minnesota law, an employee who quits employment is generally not eligible for unemployment benefits subject to certain limited exceptions. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1 (2012). An applicant is eligible for benefits even though they quit if they quit "because of a good reason caused by the employer." Id., subd. 1(1). Subdivision 3 defines "good reason caused by the employer, " and provides, in part:

(a)A good reason caused by the employer for quitting is a reason:
(1) that is directly related to the employment and for which the ...

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