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Nelson v. Hoglund Bus Co., Inc.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 5, 2013

Bradley Nelson, Relator,
v.
Hoglund Bus Co., Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 30251287-3.

Bradley Nelson, Rice, Minnesota (pro se relator).

Hoglund Bus Co., Inc., Monticello, Minnesota (respondent).

Lee B. Nelson, Colleen Timmer, Department of Employment and Economic Development, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent department).

Considered and decided by Hooten, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Willis, Judge.

WILLIS, Judge [*]

Relator appeals the decision of an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that he was ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because he was discharged from employment due to employment misconduct. We affirm.

FACTS

Relator Bradley Nelson was employed by Hoglund Bus Company (Hoglund) as a parts salesman, and he used a company vehicle bearing the company's logo to visit customers and deliver parts along a sales route. Nelson did not have specified work hours but was expected to work for at least eight hours each workday. If Nelson finished his route before he had worked eight hours, he was expected to make telephone calls to customers until the end of his shift.

In September 2012, Hoglund evaluated Nelson's use of the company vehicle by reviewing GPS tracking data for the vehicle. The GPS data showed that the vehicle was frequently parked outside a local bar for long periods on workdays. On or about September 11, 2012, Nelson's supervisor spoke with him about his work schedule, and Nelson admitted that he had stopped at the bar at the times and for the periods of time that the GPS data indicated. Nelson stated that he went there for lunches and after he completed his sales routes, that he went there to get food and to gamble, and that he did not consume alcohol there during his workday. Nelson's supervisor reminded him that he needed to work for at least eight hours each workday and warned him against taking excessive breaks.

On September 21, 2012, Nelson failed to work for eight hours and again went to the bar in the company vehicle. Hoglund discharged Nelson from employment on September 24, 2012. Nelson then applied for unemployment benefits and was deemed eligible to receive benefits. Hoglund appealed the eligibility determination, claiming that Nelson was discharged for spending time in a bar during work hours when he should have been performing work duties. Hoglund also claimed that Nelson had been told by his supervisor that it was not appropriate to have the company vehicle parked outside a bar.

Following an evidentiary hearing, the ULJ ruled that Nelson was ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because he was discharged due to employment misconduct. The ULJ found that Nelson failed to work for the expected eight hours on September 21 and failed to heed his supervisor's warning that it was not acceptable to have the company vehicle parked outside a bar. The ULJ concluded that Nelson "seriously violated Hoglund's reasonable expectations" and "demonstrated a substantial lack of ...


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