Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission --
Summary of Wisconsin Court Decision relating to Unemployment Insurance
Subject: Andrew McKinney v. Labor and Industry Review Commission and Tradesmen International LLC, Case No. 2016CV131 (Wis. Cir. Ct., LaCrosse Co., August 25, 2016)
Digest Codes: SW 800 General Suitable Work, SW 850 Personal Affairs
The wages, hours and other conditions of the offer of work were prevailing. The employee refused an offer of work because he was providing marital counseling as an ordained minister to his brother.
The commission held that the employee had failed, without good cause, to accept a bona fide offer of suitable work within the meaning of Wis. Stat. § 108.04(8)(a). The employee disagreed and asserted he had personal good cause to refuse the offer of work because he had an obligation as an ordained minister to provide such counseling. The employee most recently worked as a carpenter.
Citing Rashad v. Madison Area Technical College District, UI Dec. Hearing No. 03002383 (LIRC Sept. 19, 2005), the commission held that the employee failed to demonstrate that providing marital counseling was a requirement of his religious faith and that his choice, while based on sincerely held religious beliefs, was personal and did not provide him with good cause within the meaning of the statute to refuse the offer of work.
Held: Affirmed by the Circuit Court. The court determined that the commission distinguished the Rashad case from the employee’s circumstances and that the employee did not demonstrate that providing marital counseling was a requirement of his religious faith. The employee made a personally valid choice to counsel his brother instead of accepting work and therefore he failed to establish his refusal was with good cause within the meaning of Wis. Stat. § 108.04(8)(a).
Please note that this is a summary prepared by staff of the commission, not a verbatim reproduction of the court decision.