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Karasek v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co. (Corp.)

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

September 30, 2013

Daniel E. Karasek, Relator,
v.
Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co. (Corp.), Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 28789628-6.

Daniel E. Karasek, Houston, Texas (pro se relator) Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co. c/o Barnett Associates, Inc., Garden City, New York (respondent)

Lee B. Nelson, Christine Hinrichs, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent Department of Employment and Economic Development)

Considered and decided by Hooten, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Stauber, Judge.

HALBROOKS, Judge

Relator challenges the decision of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that he was discharged for employment misconduct and is therefore ineligible for unemployment benefits. We affirm.

FACTS

Relator Daniel Karasek was employed by respondent Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (3M) as a full-time, salaried quality engineer from November 15, 2010 to November 3, 2011. The parties agree that Karasek worked significantly fewer than 40 hours per week over a one-month period and did not report his absences. They dispute whether Karasek's failure to report his absences constitutes employment misconduct such that he is ineligible for unemployment benefits.

3M has a system for reporting employee time by exception. When Karasek was not at work, he was expected to report his time off in the timekeeping system. Procedures for reporting absences were communicated during new-employee orientation. Based on a tip, Karasek's supervisor collected entrance logs for the building and discovered that during the period September 26-October 25, 2011, Karasek was on-site a total of 78 hours. Specifically, Karasek was gone four full days in a two-week period, including a day when he interviewed for a job with another company. Karasek did not report any absences in the timekeeping system. He later stated that he worked from home on certain occasions, but did not mention this to his supervisor because he knew that his supervisor would not approve.

On November 3, 2011, 3M discharged Karasek for falsification of time records. Karasek attempted to tender his resignation immediately thereafter. Karasek applied for unemployment benefits with respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) but was found ineligible because he indicated that he had quit. Karasek appealed and had a hearing before a ULJ. Due to a scheduling miscommunication, 3M's witnesses were unavailable. The ULJ heard Karasek's testimony and concluded that he was discharged for employment misconduct and is therefore ineligible for unemployment benefits. Upon reconsideration, the ULJ affirmed this decision.

Karasek's first certiorari appeal to this court followed, and we reversed and remanded for further development of the record. On remand, the ULJ conducted an evidentiary hearing at which a 3M witness testified. Following the hearing, the ULJ again concluded that Karasek was discharged for employment misconduct and is therefore ineligible for unemployment benefits. On reconsideration, the ULJ affirmed the decision. This certiorari appeal follows.

DECISION

We review a ULJ's decision to determine whether a party's substantial rights were prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusion, or decision are unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the record as a whole or affected by an error of law. Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (2012). A person discharged for employment misconduct is ineligible for unemployment benefits. Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 4(1) (2012). Employment misconduct is "any intentional, negligent, or indifferent conduct, on the job or off the job that displays clearly: (1) a serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has ...


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