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Jarvis v. Pro Systems Corp.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

June 10, 2013

Steven L. Jarvis, Relator,
v.
Pro Systems Corporation, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 29589852-3

Steven L. Jarvis, Lake Park, Minnesota (pro se relator)

Pro Systems Corporation, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota (respondent) Lee B. Nelson, Colleen Timmer, Department of Employment and Economic Development, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent Department of Employment and Economic Development)

Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Stauber, Judge.

SCHELLHAS, Judge

Relator appeals the decision of an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that he is ineligible for unemployment benefits because he quit his employment. We affirm.

FACTS

In early 2012, relator Steven Jarvis began his employment with respondent Pro Systems Corporation, which was doing business as Attachments International. Jarvis's employment with Pro Systems ended March 20, 2012. Jarvis applied for unemployment benefits, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) determined that he was ineligible for unemployment benefits. Jarvis appealed DEED's determination, and a ULJ conducted an evidentiary hearing.

At the evidentiary hearing, the owner of Pro Systems—Jerry Henry—testified that he had a conversation with Jarvis on March 20, 2012, because Jarvis had been "coming in so late some days." During the conversation, Henry told Jarvis that he had been "hired . . . for full-time work" and that Jarvis's "hours are a little erratic." Jarvis told Henry that he had "an opportunity to go to college and he would like to do that, and consequently he [could] no longer come in full-time." Henry told Jarvis that, because Pro Systems was extremely busy, it would have to hire a full-time replacement worker if Jarvis would not work full time. Jarvis asked if he could work part time, and Henry agreed to this arrangement but told Jarvis that he would need to call in advance to coming in to see if work was available. Jarvis never called after March 20.

Jarvis's testimony differed significantly from Henry's. Jarvis testified that, sometime in early February 2012, he enrolled in an associate-degree program because "at the time it seemed to [him] that there was no work" at Pro Systems. Jarvis also testified that, after enrolling in the associate-degree program, he e-mailed Henry to inform him that he would like to work part time because of school and, on February 6, received an email from Henry's wife, who said, "[T]hat would be just fine, thank you." Thereafter, Jarvis considered himself part time. Although Jarvis testified that he had possession of the e-mails, he did not offer them as evidence. His stated reason for not doing so is unclear from the record.

Jarvis testified that, during the conversation on March 20, Henry said, "I thought you were gonna call before you came in" and confirmed that Jarvis would need to call before he came to work. Jarvis claimed that he told Henry that if he did not have work, he could lay him off and that Henry said, "[O]kay that will work for me, " and walked out of the shop. Jarvis stated that, "As far as [he] was concerned when [he] left full-time to go part-time [he] was still an employee of Jerry Henry and as such [he] never quit"; Henry laid him off. Jarvis and Pro Systems agree that Jarvis did not work for Pro Systems after March 20, 2012.

The ULJ noted the parties' conflicting evidence about Jarvis's employment status and found that Pro Systems' evidence was more credible than Jarvis's because "Jarvis's evidence was self-serving, inconsistent, based on unsubstantiated hearsay, and did not provide a plausible sequence of events." The ULJ noted that Jarvis offered no credible evidence to support his unsubstantiated allegations that he advised Pro Systems by e-mail that he was enrolled in school and wanted to work part time and that Henry's wife told him that Henry gave his consent. The ULJ found that Jarvis's explanation made "no sense because Henry testified credibly that he had plenty of work available for Jarvis on March 20th and, in fact, told Jarvis that he needed Jarvis to increase his hours to fulltime." The ULJ concluded that Jarvis quit his employment with Pro Systems and that no exception to ineligibility applied. The ULJ affirmed DEED's determination that Jarvis was ineligible for unemployment benefits.

Jarvis submitted a request for reconsideration, claiming that "Henry lied, he laid me off in front of a witness." Jarvis submitted two exhibits with his request for reconsideration. The first was a typed statement in which Jarvis stated that he started school after a "number of weeks" when there was "very little work" at Pro Systems and that, after he started school, he "called [Henry] at his house" and "asked him if [he] could go part time temporarily while there was no work" and Henry "said that would be fine." Jarvis also submitted a statement purportedly from a Pro Systems employee who was present in the room during the conversation on March 20. In its entirety, the employee's statement read: "[Jarvis] asked to be laid off because of lack of work, and [Henry] said OK." Jarvis stated that he had ...


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