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

Subject: Renee M. Gravunder (Hrg. No. 96201988EC) v. Labor and Industry Review Commission and UP Special Delivery, Inc., Case 97-CV-568 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Eau Claire Co., July 16, 1998)

Digest Codes:  VL 1080.09 - Working Conditions - Fellow Employes - conflict with co-worker -  employer  responded promptly and reasonably to employe's complaints

The employe worked for about 15 months as a clerical worker for the employer, a trucking business. On several occasions a male co-worker, Johnson, deliberately sat on her desk and farted. Johnson gave her a 1-800 pornographic hot line number and told her it was the number for UPS. He deliberately did not flush the toilet after he used it because the employe had not put up the seat after she used it. The employe complained and Johnson was reprimanded. Johnson later put a dead bird on the employe's car windshield in the employer's parking lot, and received additional disciplinary action when the employe told the employer. On another occasion an unidentified individual put a sexually-offensive cartoon on the employe's and other individuals' computers. The employer attempted to discover who had done this but was unable to do so. A sexually-offensive FAX was sent to the employe's terminal from another terminal, and the employe was the first person to see it. The employer investigated and discovered that it had been sent by an individual who did not know the employe and intended it for a group of dock workers. This individual was also disciplined. Shortly before quitting, the employe asserted that Johnson had stolen the security code to her telephone answering service, but this was never proven and the employe did not cooperate with the employer's investigation before quitting.

The appeal tribunal and the commission found a quit without good cause attributable to the employer. The employe appealed and asserted that she had been sexually harassed, and that the employer did not react reasonably.

Held: The commission is affirmed. The employer did respond promptly and reasonably to each of the employe's complaints. The employe did not cooperate with the final investigation regarding Johnson's alleged theft of her security code, and there was strong evidence that she quit because she was about to be fired herself for disciplinary reasons.

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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