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

Subject: Denise L. Cherek (Hearing No. 96004377WU) v. DWD, LIRC and Springs Window Fashion Division, Inc., No. 97-CV-152 (Wis. Cir. Ct. Marathon County April 22, 1998) Raymond F. Thums Circuit Judge

Digest Codes: MC 665.12  MC 668

The employe began work for a previous owner of the employer in January, 1990. The employe worked as a technical lead with responsibilities for technical equipment, training and record keeping. The employe had been talked to about her verbal outbursts prior to June 1996. In June 1996 the employer talked to the employe about her use of vulgar language in the presence of two trainees. On August 8, 1996 the employe twice used the words "fucking Hmong" to refer to another employe. She was suspended for three days and discharged at the end of the suspension. The commission found that the employe was discharged for misconduct.

Held: The employe had received an oral warning about her attitude and behavior. She had also been warned that she could not use vulgar language or swear at new employes. Swearing and using vulgar language in reference to or in the presence of new employes is degrading and unacceptable conduct that should not be tolerated in an employment setting. The use of profanity generally among employes does not make it unreasonable to consider profanity directed at or in reference to new employes to be misconduct. The language used by the employe could reasonably be found to promote bigotry. It could create a hostile environment and subject the employer to harassment charges. Benefits denied.

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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