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Minnesota's state legislature created its unemployment insurance program in 1936. The program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Its purpose is to temporarily replace income for workers who become unemployed "through no fault of their own." Although many states give little guidance about who is eligible for unemployment, Minnesota law is fairly specific about whether a fired worker will be able to collect unemployment benefits.
In order to collect unemployment benefits, you must have become unemployed "through no fault of your own." However, in some circumstances you may still be eligible to collect unemployment benefits even if you are fired for cause. Minnesota law says you may be eligible even if you are fired for poor job performance or if you make an honest mistake on the job. Further, you may also be eligible for benefits if you are fired because you were absent from work because of an illness or injury if you properly notified your employer of the absence.
In Minnesota, you may not be eligible for benefits if you were fired for "employment misconduct." According to the state of Minnesota, "employment misconduct" means actions that show "clearly a serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has the right to reasonably expect of the employee" or "displays clearly a substantial lack of concern for the employment." Examples of the type of conduct that could make you ineligible for benefits are drug or alcohol use at work, fighting, theft or a pattern of unexcused absences or tardiness.
Aggravated Employment Misconduct
Minnesota has a separate category of conduct for workers who are fired due to more severe actions. If a worker is fired for aggravated employment misconduct, not only is he ineligible to receive benefits, but it may result in a smaller weekly benefit if the worker qualifies for unemployment in the future. Examples of aggravated employment misconduct include abuse of a vulnerable adult, assault, embezzlement and theft of more than $500.
Applying for Benefits
If you are fired from your job in Minnesota, you can apply for unemployment benefits. When you apply for benefits, you will be asked whether you quit voluntarily or were fired. It is best to answer honestly because the state will contact your former employer to verify your version of events. If the state determines that you were fired for misconduct, you will be denied unemployment benefits.
If you are fired and apply for Minnesota unemployment benefits and your request is denied, you can appeal the decision. The first step in the appeal process is a telephone hearing with an unemployment law judge. During the appeal process, it is important that you continue to apply for benefits for each week you are unemployed. This way, you will receive all the benefits you are entitled to if your appeal is successful.
If your appeal is unsuccessful, you may request that the unemployment law judge reconsider. If that request is denied, you can take the case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Melissa Heath has written about insurance, finance, and law-related matters since 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota, and is a licensed attorney in Minnesota.