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

Subject: Judith Wisniewski (Hrg. No. 95201783RH) v. State of Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission and Northwoods Hospital Association, Inc., Case 96 CV 43 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Oneida Co., October 1, 1996)

Digest Codes: MC 640.05

In a meeting at which her supervisor announced a change in night shift hours, the employe became upset, stated that she would not work the new hours, refused to consider an offer to transfer to another shift, refused to resign, and eventually threw a crumpled up piece of paper and a pen at her supervisor. She then refused to leave the room when she was told to. She was discharged. LIRC found misconduct. She sought judicial review, arguing that she had reasonably believed that working the longer shift would be harmful to her physical health. She also argued that she was not given three warnings as she alleged she was entitled under the employer’s policies.

Held: Affirmed. The commission’s decision is entitled to "great weight" deference. The court defers to the commission’s credibility findings regarding the behavior of the parties during the dispute. Whether the employe had valid reasons for not wanting to work the new hours, she never conveyed these to her supervisor. Her instantaneous and adamant refusal to work the new hours, and her actions in throwing things at her supervisor, were unequivocal misconduct. Her actions also gave the employer a basis for termination without warning.

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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