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Wiley v. Robert Half International, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 22, 2013

Ulanda D. Wiley, Relator,
v.
Robert Half International, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 27879661-7

Peter B. Knapp, Grant M. Borgen (certified student attorney), William Mitchell Law Clinic, St. Paul, Minnesota (for relator)

Robert Half International, Inc., San Ramon, California (respondent employer)

Lee B. Nelson, Amy R. Lawler, Department of Employment and Economic Development, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent Department)

Considered and decided by Chutich, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Smith, Judge.

SYLLABUS

To be eligible for unemployment benefits under Minnesota Statutes section 268.095, subdivision 1(3) (2010), the unsuitability of employment must be at least one of the reasons the applicant quit the employment.

OPINION

CHUTICH, Judge

Relator Ulanda Wiley challenges the unemployment-law judge's decision to deny her unemployment benefits. She contends that her work was not "suitable" as that term is defined in Minnesota Statutes section 268.035, subdivision 23a(g)(4) (2010), and therefore she is eligible for benefits. We affirm the unemployment-law judge's conclusion that, to be eligible under the unsuitability exception in Minnesota Statutes section 268.095, subdivision 1(3), an applicant must quit because the employment is unsuitable. Because substantial evidence does not support the unemployment-law judge's conclusion that Wiley's reasons for quitting were unrelated to the unsuitable nature of her temporary employment, however, we reverse the judge's determination that Wiley is ineligible for unemployment benefits.

FACTS

In May 2011, Wiley began working for Robert Half International, Inc. (Robert Half), a temporary staffing agency. Robert Half placed Wiley at Handi Medical Supply (Handi) as a medical biller. Wiley began working on May 3, earning $14 per hour and working a minimum of 30 hours per week. She quit on May 27, 2011, less than thirty days after beginning the employment.

After Wiley quit her job, she applied for unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (department). The department determined that Wiley was ineligible for benefits. Wiley appealed the determination and an unemployment-law judge held a telephone hearing. At the hearing, Wiley testified that she quit her employment because she did not receive her paychecks on time and because her supervisor made her uncomfortable. The unemployment-law judge determined that Wiley was ineligible for benefits, finding that "Robert Half quickly corrected any payment errors" and that "Wiley calculated that it would be to her financial benefit to be unemployed so that she could enroll in state and county programs to assist her financially." Wiley filed a request for reconsideration, and the judge affirmed the decision. Wiley brought a certiorari appeal.

In an unpublished decision, this court remanded the case to the unemployment-law judge to develop relevant facts and to consider whether Wiley meets the exception to ineligibility under Minnesota Statutes section 268.095, subdivision 1(3)—that she quit within 30 days of beginning employment because it was unsuitable. Wiley v. Robert Half Int'l, A11-1616, 2012 WL 2202977, at *4 (Minn.App. June 18, 2012). This court further ordered that the judge take into account the definition of unsuitable employment under section 268.035, subdivision 23a(g)(4). Id.

On remand, the unemployment-law judge held a second telephone hearing. Wiley participated with her counsel. The judge determined that Wiley quit employment that was unsuitable, but that she did not quit her employment because it was unsuitable. Accordingly, the judge concluded that she was not eligible under the unsuitability exception. Upon request for ...


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