Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 29878239-3
John Howitz, St. Paul, Minnesota (pro se relator) The International School of Minnesota, LLC, Eden Prairie, Minnesota (respondent)
Lee B. Nelson, Colleen Timmer, Minnesota 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 Bjorkman, Judge.
Relator challenges the determination by the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that he is not eligible to receive unemployment benefits because he quit his employment for a reason not caused by his employer. We affirm.
Relator John Howitz worked as the academic quality controller for respondent International School of Minnesota, LLC. In early June 2012, the International School received a parent complaint about a teacher. Howitz responded to the parent by e-mail but also inadvertently sent the response, which included the initial complaint, to the parents of all of the school's 10th- and 11th-grade students.
On the morning of June 8, Howitz discussed the situation with his supervisor Christi Seiple-Cole. Seiple-Cole told him that he committed "a very serious offense" but did not say that he would be terminated because of it. Seiple-Cole scheduled a meeting for 4:00 p.m. that day with Howitz and a human-resources representative to further discuss the incident.
At 1:34 p.m. that afternoon, Howitz sent Seiple-Cole an e-mail stating that he was going to leave unless the human-resources representative met with him immediately; his key was on his desk; and any paperwork could be sent to his home. The meeting time was not changed. Howitz left and never returned.
Howitz applied for unemployment benefits, asserting that he resigned after being told he would be terminated. Respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development initially determined that Howitz was eligible to receive benefits. The International School appealed. The ULJ conducted an evidentiary hearing during which Seiple-Cole testified that she did not tell Howitz that he would be terminated. But she acknowledged that termination likely would have occurred during the 4:00 p.m. meeting with the human-resources representative. Howitz did not participate in the hearing. The ULJ found Seiple-Cole's testimony more credible than Howitz's written statement in his request for benefits that he resigned after being told he would be terminated and concluded that Howitz is not eligible for benefits because he quit and does not qualify for an exception under Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1 (2012). Howitz requested reconsideration, and the ULJ affirmed the decision. This certiorari appeal follows.
We review a ULJ's decision to determine whether it is "(1) in violation of constitutional provisions; (2) in excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of the department; (3) made upon unlawful procedure; (4) affected by other error of law;(5)unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record as submitted; or ...