Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Unexcused Absence

For employees in Minnesota, absences from work make it harder to keep their jobs or, if they lose them, to obtain unemployment compensation benefits.  Four recent rulings of the Minnesota Court of Appeals make the case.  Jusczak v. Lampert Yards, Inc., 2013 WL 5418103 (Minn. App. 09/30/2013) (unpublished) (employees left work and did not return after confrontation); Karasek v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 2013 WL 5418043 (Minn. App. 09/30/2013) (unpublished) (failure to report working from home); Kruegel v. All-American Co-Op, 2013 WL 5418162 (Minn. App. 09/30/2013) (unpublished) (absence due to incarceration); Coleman v. County of Hennepin, 2013 WL 5508368 (Minn. App. 10/07/2013) (unpublished) (lying about reason for absence).

In each case, the court upheld decisions that the missing employees committed disqualifying “misconduct” under Minn. Stat. §268.095, subd. 6.  The court reasoned that the employees violated reasonable expectations of their employers.

Employees may miss work and their advocates should try to identify any justifications, such as medical reasons, or point to past practice of the employer alleging or acquiescing in such absences by the claimant or other employees, and note the failure of any warnings from management.  Employers and their attorneys may point to the frequency of the absences, the negative impact on business operations, and any deceit or other wrongdoing by the employee.

Marshall H. Tanick

Hellmuth & Johnson, PLLC



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