Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission --
Summary of Wisconsin Court Decision relating to Unemployment Insurance

Subject: James A. Lang  v. Hintzke & Associates, Inc. & LIRC (Case 97-CV-002058, Wis. Cir. Ct., Milwaukee Co., December 23, 1997)

Digest Codes:  MC 640.12   PC 712.5

Failure To Appear Issue: The employer’s president, Hintzke, failed to appear at the original hearing. He asserted that in the night prior to the hearing he took a prescription medication for a skin condition. The medication caused him to sleep very late and not go to work the next day. He had written a reminder of the hearing on his calendar at work, but did not see it because he did not go to work. LIRC found this testimony credible, particularly because Hintzke submitted a physician’s note verifying the prescription and its effect of drowsiness. The employe, Lang, subpoenaed a witness who testified that she saw Hintzke’s car at work on the day of the hearing, but did not see Hintzke. Hintzke explained that his wife had probably driven him home the previous evening, leaving his car at work.

Held: The court affirmed the commission’s finding that Hintzke demonstrated good cause for his failure to appear at the hearing. Credible and substantial evidence supported the commission’s determination that Hintzke was telling the truth.

Misconduct Issue: Lang was employed as a staff accountant by the employer. He began this employment on January 9, 1995. At the time of hire Hintzke informed him that he would need to put in extra hours during the tax season. On April 10, 1995, Hintzke left a note at Lang’s desk, indicating that he would be required to work longer hours through April 15, 1995. On April 11, 1995, Hintzke asked Lang whether he intended to work the extra hours required. Lang indicated that he did not intend to work extra. He also told Hintzke he didn’t need the accountant job and could make more money pursuing his race car driving avocation. Hintzke told him that with that attitude perhaps he should turn in his keys and Lang agreed.

Lang asserted that he had never agreed to work extra hours, and that Hintzke fired him on April 11, 1995, after he became upset with Lang’s complaints about the state of clients’ files. LIRC found a discharge for misconduct.

Held: The court affirmed the finding of misconduct, giving great weight to the commission’s decision, and finding no reason to overturn its credibility determination.

Please note that this is a summary prepared by staff of the commission, not a verbatim reproduction of the court decision.

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