An employee who voluntarily leaves a job without “good reason” attributable to their employer under Minn. Stat. §268.095, subd. 1(1) usually is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits for that job loss. With a few exceptions, involving such circumstances as unremedied harassment, medical necessity, and a significant reduction in pay or benefits, employees who quit their jobs likely face loss of their unemployment benefits claims.
This tendency was exemplified in Crotty v. Leeann Chin, Inc., 2012 WL 426583 (Minn. App. 2012) (unpublished). The employee left his job for a new position with a food service company, which withdrew its offer to him after it learned that he did not have a personal vehicle, which was necessary to fulfill duties of the position. The employee unsuccessfully sought unemployment benefits, claiming that he fell within the exception of Minn. Stat. §268.095, subd. 1(2), which allows benefits for an employee who leaves one job for a “substantially better position” elsewhere, if the employee does not work in the new position for a sufficient time to qualify for unemployment benefits from the new employer. The employee’s rationale for quitting the first job was that, even though the new job offered less salary and a lower potential benefit, it did not require him to work weekends, as the first job did.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals, agreeing with DEED, ruled against the employee. The court reasoned that the “personal” reason for the employee quitting his first job was too “subjective” to qualify for the “substantially better job” provision. Advocates for resigning employees seeking to invoke this provision may focus on wages or other emoluments to argue that a new job is “substantially better.” Employers seeking to defend against such claims should show that the position, even if superior in some ways, is not “substantially better” on other objective measures.
Marshall H. Tanick
Mansfield Tanick & Cohen, PA