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

Subject: Stoughton Trailers, Inc. v. LIRC and James Horn (Hrg. No. 95004712JV), Case 96-CV-001521 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Dane Co., March 18, 1997)

Digest Codes: AA 120

After an absence, due to work-related tendinitis, the employe returned to work but then left again after a few months, on his physician’s advice. After his WC benefits ceased the employer assigned him no more work and he claimed UC benefits. LIRC held that the employe had suspended his employment because he was unable to do the work available with his employer, but was otherwise available, and was therefore eligible.

Held: Affirmed. Court decisions have not clarified whether "availability" is a question of fact or law, but the cases do establish that the commission’s decision on availability should be deferred to if reasonable even where the court might have arrived at another decision. Credible evidence supports the finding that the employe was unable to do work available with the employer. The court cannot substitute its judgment on credibility, and the employe’s testimony was not incredible as a matter of law. The misconduct argument fails because that is a discharge issue, and the employer specifically argued that the employe had not been discharged. Finally, evidence supports the finding that the employe did not quit his job, but suspended his employment indefinitely.

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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