FOSTER R GRIBBONS, Complainant
CHART INDUSTRIES INC, Respondent
An administrative law judge (ALJ) for the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development issued a decision in this matter. A timely petition for review was filed.
The commission has considered the petition and the positions of the parties, and it has reviewed the evidence submitted to the ALJ. Based on its review, the commission agrees with the decision of the ALJ, and it adopts the findings and conclusion in that decision as its own.
The decision of the administrative law judge (copy attached) is affirmed.
Dated and mailed March 26, 2002
gribbfo . rsd : 164 : 8
/s/ David B. Falstad, Chairman
James A. Rutkowski, Commissioner
/s/ Laurie R. McCallum, Commissioner
In his petition for commission review the complainant argues that he is exercising his right to an appeal and states that he would like to know why his request for an appeal was overlooked. The commission is unable to address the complainant's concern that he filed an appeal which was "overlooked," as he has not elaborated upon this assertion and there is nothing in the file to suggest this was the case. On August 2, 2001, the complainant signed a "request to withdraw complaint," on the ground that he had reached a confidential settlement with the respondent. The complainant subsequently sought to disregard the settlement agreement and the request to withdraw and to proceed with a hearing. However, the administrative rules provide that, upon the filing of a request for withdrawal, the department shall dismiss the complaint. Wis. Admin. Code § DWD 218.02(7). Thus, once the complainant filed his written request to withdraw his complaint, the administrative law judge was obligated to dismiss the complaint. Johannes v. County of Waushara Executive Committee Board of Supervisors (LIRC, November 1, 1993). Further, it is the commission's policy to treat settlements as final, absent an allegation of misrepresentation or intimidation by a representative of the department, or an allegation that the settlement agreement contains something to render it invalid on its face. Johannes, supra; Pustina v. Fox & Fox, S. C. (LIRC, April 27, 1993); Clussman v. Ellis Stone Constr. (LIRC, March 25, 1986). Although in his written submission to the administrative law judge the complainant indicated that he was forced into accepting the settlement and that he considered it a "slap in the face," a bare assertion of duress is insufficient to warrant disregarding a settlement agreement. Indeed, the commission has held that a party alleging he has entered into a settlement agreement under duress is required to specifically allege conduct constituting duress which would, if true, justify voiding the agreement. Kaufer v. Miller Brewing Company (LIRC, November 19, 1993). Finally, the commission notes that the administrative law judge's decision indicates the complainant knowingly and voluntarily entered into the settlement agreement, a conclusion which the complainant has not specifically challenged in his petition for review. For all these reasons, the administrative law judge's decision and order is affirmed.
Attorney Ellen M. Frantz
Attorney David Grenell
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