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

Subject: Slavko D. Arsikic (Hearing No. 98601287RC) v. LIRC and Badger Technical, No. 98-CV-004788 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Milwaukee County, December 2, 1998) Francis T. Wasielewski Circuit Judge

Digest Codes: CP 360  PC 752

The employe began working for a technical services corporation in October 1997. He worked as a machine computer programmer and was scheduled Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. He worked on Monday and Tuesday, December 22 and 23, 1997. He did not work for the rest of that week (week 52-1997) or during the next week (week 1-1998). He returned to work on Monday, January 5, 1998 and worked through Thursday, January 29, 1998. He applied for unemployment benefits on February 4, 1998 (week 6). He filed retroactive applications for weeks 52 of 1997 and week 1 of 1998.

The commission found that the employe failed to notify the department of an intention to initiate or reactivate a benefit claim and found that the reason for the failure was not an exceptional circumstance. It concluded that the employe was not eligible for unemployment benefits from week 52-1997 through week 5-1998, pursuant to Wis. Stat. 108.08(1).

Held: The commission's legal conclusion is entitled to great weight due to the satisfaction of the four conditions set forth in UFE Inc. v. LIRC, 201 Wis 2d 274, 287,548 N.W.2d 57 (1996).

Wis. Stat. 108.08(1) requires claimants to give notice to the department, pursuant to its rules, of intent to file a benefit claim. Eligibility begins the week of the claimant's first notice. The employe's excuse was that he did not realize that he could file a claim earlier since he knew he would be returning to work. The employe had filed claims for benefits in several prior years and had received benefits during 1997. He had received the booklet explaining how to file claims. The commission reasonably found that the employe should have been familiar with the rules. His situation was not an exceptional circumstance. To allow claimants to establish an earlier date for benefit eligibility based on their own self-serving statements about what they thought or believed would effectively remove any need for claimants to notify the department of their unemployment. The commission's decision is neither unreasonable nor contrary to the clear meaning of the statute or rules. Affirmed.

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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