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

Subject: June M. Lauer (Hrg. No. 97201127EC) v. James R. Bratley d/b/a Kentucky Fried Chicken and Labor and Industry Review Commission, Case 97-CV-405 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Douglas Co., July 20, 1998)

Digest Codes: VL 1080.09

The employe was a store manager for a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. A new owner took over the store on 5/1/97, and brought in a new area manager named Sabourin. Sabourin used crude language, and on one occasion went so far as to announce on the store loud speaker that he wanted to make the store into a strip joint and for all female employes to put tattoos of Colonel Sanders on their breasts. This was his idea of a joke. Also, on one occasion he told the employe to "grow some balls," meaning that she should be more aggressive in her management style. The only time the employe said anything to Sabourin about his behavior was on one occasion she told him: "I can't believe the way you talk." He responded: "What is anybody going to do, fucking fire me?"

On Friday, 6/21/97, the employe told the operations manager, Hansen, that she wanted to talk to the owner about Sabourin, but Hansen told her the owner was on vacation. The employe thereupon indicated she was quitting due to Sabourin's behavior, but Hansen told her to come in the following Monday and he would investigate the matter. He also told her he would keep Sabourin out of the restaurant until the owner returned. The employe rebuffed Hansen's offers and quit without returning.

The ALJ found a quit without good cause attributable to the employer, and the commission modified the ALJ's rationale, but affirmed his finding of a quit. The employe appealed and asserted that she was in an unbearable situation and had done everything she could do short of quitting.

Held: The employe did not voice any genuine complaint to Sabourin, and her refusal to accept Hansen's offer of assistance was unreasonable. The commission decision is entitled to great weight, and since it is reasonable it must be 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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