Vicky L. Stewart, Relator, vs. Executive Affiliates, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.Annotate this Case
This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480 A. 08, subd. 3 (2006).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
COURT OF APPEALS
Vicky L. Stewart,
Executive Affiliates, Inc.,
Department of Employment
and Economic Development,
Filed December 24, 2007
Department of Employment and
File No. 14130 06
Vicky L. Stewart, 30757 Redding Avenue, Shaffer,
Minnesota 55074 (pro se relator)
Executive Affiliates Inc., 47W210 Route 30, Big Rock, Illinois 60511 (respondent employer)
Lee B. Nelson, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, First National Bank Building, Suite E200, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-1351 (for respondent department)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Hudson, Judge.U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On writ of certiorari from an order affirming the dismissal of relator's appeal from the unemployment-compensation-disqualification determination, relator argues that her appeal should not have been dismissed as untimely. Because an unemployment-law judge under Minn. Stat. § 268.101, subd. 2(e) (2006), has no jurisdiction to review an untimely appeal, we affirm.
Relator Vicky Stewart sought unemployment benefits after she worked for and quit employment with at least two employers during her base period. As to the employer not involved in the present appeal, respondent Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) determined that she quit her employment without good reason caused by her employer. Relator successfully appealed this determination.
As to her more recent employer, respondent Executive Affiliates, Inc., DEED ruled on August 31, 2006, that relator quit her job without good reason caused by the employer and disqualified her from receiving unemployment benefits. On October 9, 2006, relator filed an appeal of this determination. Relator acknowledged that she filed her appeal after the 30-day deadline but contended she was unaware she needed to file an appeal for the determination concerning her employment with Executive Affiliates because she only worked there for one week. The unemployment-law judge (ULJ) dismissed relator's appeal as untimely because it was filed after the 30-day deadline for appeals established by Minn. Stat. § 268.101, subd. 2(e) (2006).
Relator requested reconsideration of the ULJ's dismissal of her appeal arguing that she did not know she had to file an appeal for both employers. Relator later submitted an e-mail contending that DEED employees never explained to her that she had to file an appeal from the determination concerning her employment with Executive Affiliates and that she was not told she was disqualified from receiving benefits. The ULJ affirmed his dismissal of relator's untimely appeal and explained that because relator did not submit a timely appeal from her disqualification determination concerning Executive Affiliates, the determination of disqualification was final.D E C I S I O N
Relator argues that her untimely appeal should not have been dismissed because: (1) her appeal was only seven days late; (2) she did not know she had to file an appeal from her determination of disqualification for an employer with whom she only worked for one week; and (3) she was led to believe by DEED staff that the appeal could have been considered timely.
On review, this court has the authority to affirm, remand, reverse, or modify the decision of an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) in certain circumstances. Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (2006). A ULJ's decision to dismiss an appeal as untimely is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo. Kennedy v. Am. Paper Recycling Corp., 714 N.W.2d 738, 739 (Minn. App. 2006).
Relator argues that her appeal should not be dismissed as untimely because it was only seven days late. Under Minn. Stat. § 268.101, subd. 2(e) (2006), "[a] determination of disqualification or a determination of nondisqualification shall be final unless an appeal is filed by the applicant or notified employer within 30 calendar days after sending." The timelines for unemployment-compensation decisions are "absolute," and if an appeal is untimely, it must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Cole v. Holiday Inns, Inc., 347 N.W.2d 72, 73 (Minn. App. 1984). "[T]here are no statutory provisions for extensions or exceptions to the appeal period." Kennedy, 714 N.W.2d at 740 (holding that appeal properly dismissed when filed one day late even though documents were mailed to old address). Here, relator admits that her appeal from the August 31 determination of disqualification was untimely. Therefore, because Minn. Stat. § 268.101, subd. 2(e), does not contain any exceptions for a ULJ to consider an untimely appeal, the ULJ lacked jurisdiction to decide relator's appeal.
Relator also contends that her appeal should not be dismissed as untimely because she did not know she had to file an appeal from her determination of disqualification for an employer for which she only worked one week. But the August 31 determination clearly indicated that relator was disqualified from unemployment benefits due to quitting her job with Executive Affiliates and stated that "[b]enefits paid, if any, to the applicant for weeks of disqualification are overpayments and the applicant must repay the Department." The determination also set forth relator's right to appeal and the appeal deadlines and noted that it was in relator's "best interest to participate in the appeal hearing." Thus, relator had notice that her August 31 determination had to be appealed separately despite having worked at Executive Affiliates for only one week.
In addition, relator appears to contend that DEED staff indicated that her appeal could have been considered timely. While relator's communications with DEED staff suggest that she was confused about the overall process to obtain unemployment benefits, the August 31 determination clearly notified relator that she lost her unemployment-benefits claim and had to appeal the adverse determination within 30 days. In fact, it does not appear that relator discussed with DEED staff her August 31 disqualification determination prior to submitting her untimely appeal, but instead only discussed her successful appeal on her first disqualification determination with her former employer. Further, there is nothing in the record to suggest that the DEED commissioner, the ULJ, or DEED staff indicated to relator that her appeal would be considered even though it was filed late. See Stottler v. Meyers Printing Co., 602 N.W.2d 916, 91819 (Minn. App. 1999) (holding that DEED commissioner was estopped from withdrawing his order for review and dismissing relator's appeal as untimely because commissioner unilaterally ordered review of reemployment insurance judge's decision, and it was reasonable for relator to rely on that notice of review and not file a timely appeal).
Therefore, because the ULJ lacked jurisdiction to review appellant's untimely appeal, the ULJ did not err in dismissing appellant's appeal.