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Ronningen v. Prairie Island Indian Community

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

September 3, 2013

Joyce Ronningen, Relator,
v.
Prairie Island Indian Community, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 30157323-3

Joyce Ronningen, Clearwater, Florida (pro se relator)

Prairie Island Indian Community, Red Wing, Minnesota (respondent)

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

Considered and decided by Chutich, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Kirk, Judge.

KIRK, Judge

Relator challenges the conclusion of an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that her decision to quit employment was not for a good reason caused by the employer. Because we conclude that relator was not compelled to quit, that the employer did not have notice of relator's medical condition, and that the ULJ sufficiently reviewed the record, we affirm the ULJ.

FACTS

Relator Joyce Ronningen began working for respondent Prairie Island Indian Community in March 2008 as a pull-tab clerk at Treasure Island Resort and Casino. Her job duties required her to sell pull tabs from a booth and, one day a week, to sell pull tabs in the bingo hall using a pull-tab carrier. She generally worked 37 hours a week.

On the evening of May 26, 2012, Ronningen was assigned a high-volume shift in the pull-tab booth. Prior to that evening, she told her supervisors that she was unable to work in the bingo hall because the pull-tab carrier hurt her injured hand. As a result, the bingo supervisor assigned Ronningen to work in the booth, where she was not required to use her injured hand. That night, she was unable to complete all of her post-shift obligations. The next day, Ronningen got into an altercation with the bingo supervisor and Prairie Island suspended Ronningen for two days.

When she returned to work, Prairie Island assigned Ronningen to a position as a valet to accommodate her injury. She worked as a valet for two days, but told Prairie Island that she could not do the work because it exacerbated the injury. Prairie Island placed her on medical leave from June 1 to July 4. Ronningen returned to work on July 8. Prior to her return, Ronningen provided a doctor's note instructing that she avoid using the pull-tab carrier until July 14. Prairie Island abided by this restriction. The doctor indicated that Ronningen was under no restrictions following July 14.

Around this time, Ronningen became frustrated with Prairie Island's refusal to assign her a full complement of 37 hours a week while less-senior employees were being asked to work more hours than she was. Prairie Island issued a schedule on July 28 that included shifts requiring Ronningen to carry pull tabs using the pull-tab carrier. Ronningen sent a letter to the gaming-operations manager indicating that she was not willing to return to carrying the pull-tab carrier. The gaming-operations manager contacted Ronningen and offered to assign her three shifts a week working in the pull-tab booth, but advised her that she would be required to give up her benefits because she would be moving to part-time hours. Soon after that, human-resources staff told the manager that the arrangement he proposed to Ronningen was impermissible because it afforded Ronningen treatment that was different than what other Prairie Island employees would receive.

Ronningen called in sick for several shifts in early August, and the gaming-operations manager advised her to bring a doctor's note accounting for the absences when she returned to work. On August 12, Ronningen provided a doctor's note ...


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