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Witten v. Omni Pro, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

November 25, 2013

Justin A. Witten, Relator,
v.
Omni Pro, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 30408841-3

Justin A. Witten, Farmington, Minnesota (pro se relator)

Omni Pro, Inc., Blaine, Minnesota (respondent)

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

Considered and decided by Kirk, Presiding Judge; Smith, Judge; and Harten, Judge.

Harten, Judge [*]

Relator challenges the decision of the unemployment law judge (ULJ) that relator is ineligible for benefits because he did not have a good reason caused by his employer for quitting his job. We conclude that the evidence substantially sustains the ULJ's findings on which that decision is based, and, accordingly, we affirm.

FACTS

From July 2011 until April 2012, relator Justin Witten worked part-time for respondent Omni Pro, Inc., in the elevator business. During this period, he also worked part-time for a subcontractor of Omni Pro, BP Diversified (BP). In August 2011, relator recorded hours that he worked for BP as having been worked for Omni Pro. When Omni Pro learned of the error, it stopped payment on relator's paycheck, and BP paid him for those hours.

In April 2012, while working on a job for Omni Pro, relator was informed that he was being laid off from his job at BP. He decided to quit his Omni Pro employment and walked off the job.

Relator applied for unemployment benefits, claiming that he quit because of safety concerns and the fact that his paychecks were late. An administrative clerk for respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) determined that relator was not provided with the proper safety equipment, that this was a good reason to quit caused by his employer, and that relator was eligible for benefits.

Omni Pro appealed this determination. A telephone hearing was held, wherein Omni Pro was represented by its owner and relator represented himself. When asked for a list of the reasons why he quit his job, relator replied, "[S]afety issues on the job . . . and also issues with being paid on time."[1]

Following the hearing, the ULJ found that (1) relator's checks were received late because relator did not pick them up when they were available, (2) relator was responsible for the error that resulted in payment being stopped on his paycheck in August 2011, (3) Omni Pro's owner provided all the safety equipment requested, and (4) relator had never expressed to Omni Pro any concern about safety. The ULJ concluded that relator did not have a good reason caused by his employer for quitting his job. Accordingly, relator was ineligible to receive unemployment ...


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