JAMES STEWART POHL, Complainant
SA BAI THONG, Respondent
An administrative law judge (ALJ) for the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations issued a decision on March 11, 1993, dismissing the Complainant's complaint on the ground that he had failed to respond to her certified letter mailed to his last known address within the time period specified in said letter. Complainant filed a timely petition for Commission review of the matter.
Based upon a review of the record, the Labor and Industry Review Commission hereby issues the following:
The decision of the administrative law judge (copy attached) is affirmed and shall stand as the FINAL ORDER herein.
Dated and mailed at Madison, Wisconsin May 12, 1993
125 / T
/s/ Pamela I. Anderson, Chairman
/s/ Richard T. Kreul, Commissioner
/s/ James R. Meier, Commissioner
By certified letter dated February 12, 1993, the ALJ wrote to the Comp1ainant inquiring as to whether he intended to proceed with his complaint, which was scheduled for hearing on April 14, 1993, and advising him that if she did not hear from him within 20 days of the date of the letter, she would dismiss his complaint pursuant to s. 111.39(3), Stats. Section 111.39(3) provides as follows:
"The department shall dismiss a complaint if the person filing the complaint fails to respond within 20 days to any correspondence from the department concerning the complaint and if the correspondence is sent by certified mail to the last-known address of the person."
When Complainant failed to respond to the correspondence within 20 days the ALJ dismissed his complaint of alleged discrimination. On appeal from the ALJs decision, the Complainant apparently attributes the cause for his failure to timely respond to the department correspondence to the post office. Complainant asserts that he moved to Florida and that he left a forwarding address with the post office but he never received a letter from the Equal Rights Division. The difficulty with the Complainant's assertion, however, is twofold. The obvious fundamental problem is that his statement makes it clear that he had never provided the department notice of his new address. It is the responsibility of the Complainant to keep the department informed of his current address. This is neither an unreasonable expectation, nor an unduly burdensome task. Secondly, s. 111.39(3) speaks only of the requirement that the department send its correspondence to the last known address of the Complainant. The statute makes no allowance or exception for the alleged failure attributed to the post office by Complainant.
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