LINDA DUQUAINE, Complainant
WISCONSIN EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN SYNOD, 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 31, 2006
duquail . rsd : 164 : 9
James T. Flynn, Chairman
/s/ David B. Falstad, Commissioner
/s/ Robert Glaser, Commissioner
In her petition for commission review the complainant reiterates her argument that the respondent breached the severance agreement and that she is therefore released from her obligations under the agreement. The complainant requests that the commission determine whether or not the respondent breached the severance agreement and, in the event a breach is found, asks that her case be heard. However, as was explained in the administrative law judge's decision, the Equal Rights Division and commission lack jurisdiction to decide whether the severance agreement has been breached. See, Gronowski v. Milwaukee Co. (LIRC, April 13, 1998)("[T]he authority and jurisdiction of the Equal Rights Division and the commission extend to deciding whether or not acts have been committed which violate the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act. Neither agency has the authority to decide what are in effect breach of contract questions, of whether settlement agreements have been breached.") The complainant voluntarily entered into a settlement agreement in which she released the respondent from any claims arising under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act. It is for a court to determine whether that agreement has been breached and, if so, what remedy is available to the complainant. The dismissal of the complaint is therefore affirmed.
cc: Attorney John J. Kalter
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