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Maria C. Willits v. Job Service North Dakota

July 13, 2011

MARIA C. WILLITS,
PETITIONER AND APPELLANT
v.
JOB SERVICE NORTH DAKOTA,
RESPONDENT AND APPELLEE
AND
CIRCLE OF NATIONS SCHOOL, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the District Court of Richland County, Southeast Judicial District, the Honorable Richard W. Grosz, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Crothers, Justice.

N.D. Supreme Court

Willits v. Job Service of North Dakota,

2011 ND 135

This opinion is subject to petition for rehearing.

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AFFIRMED.

Opinion of the Court by Crothers, Justice.

[¶1] Maria Willits appeals from a judgment affirming a decision of Job Service North Dakota denying her application for unemployment benefits after Job Service found she voluntarily left her employment without showing good cause attributable to her employer. We affirm, concluding a reasoning mind reasonably could have determined that Willits did not make a reasonable effort to preserve her employment relationship and, consequently, that she left her employment without good cause attributable to her employer.

I

[¶2] In October 2003, Willits began working full time as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) for Circle of Nations School, a boarding school for Native American children located on federal property in Wahpeton. Willits was licensed in Minnesota and testified her supervisor told her when hired that Willits need not be licensed in North Dakota because the school was under federal jurisdiction. Willits's primary job duties as a medication monitor and quality assurance specialist was to fill prescriptions and medications prescribed for students by the school's psychiatrist. About ten percent of Willits's duties included training school staff to administer medications to students. In September 2009, Willits asked if she could be employed only part time at the school, but her request was denied.

[¶3] According to Willits, she became concerned that one staff member she had trained was not proficient in English. After a different staff member committed a medications error in late October 2009, Willits met with Don Viele, dean of students of the school, and expressed concerns about training the two staff members to administer medications because she did not believe they were qualified and would pose a risk to the student population. Willits told Viele she would not recertify the two staff members but would train others. Willits subsequently contacted the Minnesota and North Dakota State Boards of Nursing and inquired whether she could conduct medication administration training as an LPN. According to Willits, representatives of both boards informed her that she was not authorized to train staff to administer medications and that she needed to be supervised by a registered nurse or licensed practitioner. According to Willits, she concluded her work at the school was outside the scope of her nursing license.

[ΒΆ4] On November 6, 2009, Willits met with the school's business manager, Sandy Gilbertson, and told her what she had learned from the boards of nursing. Gilbertson told Willits she should voice her concerns to school administrators at a November 10, 2009 administrative meeting. Gilbertson also told Willits that the school's chief administrative officer was researching whether an LPN could train individuals in administering medications. According to Willits, she indicated to Gilbertson that she would find work elsewhere if she was required to continue training staff ...


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