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

Subject: Gregory Daniels v. LIRC and Victoria De Dienes, Case 00CV000659 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Milwaukee Co., October 11, 2000)

Digest Codes: MC 610.06  MC 610.25  MC 640.05  MC 665.01

Employee, an associate chiropractor, was disciplined a number of times over the course of her employment, by way of warnings and then suspensions of increasing length. Shortly after being told that she would be discharged if she did not start bringing in her own patients, she was discharged when she made a statement to a co-worker suggesting that the owner-chiropractor was engaging in fraud by billing patients for services not performed. The Appeal Tribunal found the employee’s statement showed poor judgment but did not amount to misconduct; LIRC affirmed. On appeal to the circuit court, the employer argued that the employee had been discharged for misconduct.

Held: LIRC’s decision is set aside. The court holds where the fact situation involves a series of prior incidents and a final, precipitating incident, there must be a determination of the actual reasons for the termination.  The court holds that if the precipitating incident here (the statement suggesting employer fraud) was properly viewed in isolation, it would sustain LIRC’s decision;  however, the court also holds that LIRC erred in treating the precipitating incident as the only factor in the termination decision and by failing to consider the extensive evidence of prior misconduct and previous warnings. Remanded for LIRC to issue another decision on the existing record.

[LIRC decision on remand]

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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