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

Subject: National Guardian Life Insurance Company (Hrg. No. 97001064MD) v. Labor and Industry Review Commission and Lynda G. Pryor, Case 97-CV-2230 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Dane Co., June 11, 1998)

Digest Codes: MC 605.05    MC 605.09

The employe worked as a customer services representative for the employer, an insurance company. She was discharged based on 12 separate days of absence in 1996, including a final incident in which she failed to bring in a medical excuse as required by the employer. However, the absences were all due to illness or divorce court appearances, except for one when her daughter was missing, and she always called and gave notice before the start of her shift. The employe attempted to obtain a doctor's excuse for her final absence on Friday, January 10, 1997, but she could not obtain an appointment with the doctor until the following Tuesday. When she came back to work on Monday, January 13, 1997, she was called into a meeting with her supervisors. They testified that she failed to indicate to them that she had the doctor's appointment scheduled, while the employe testified that she did tell them it was scheduled. The decision to discharge was made that Monday before the workday ended.

The appeal tribunal found a discharge but not for misconduct and the commission affirmed. On appeal, the employer asserted the employe's absences were "unapproved," that she did not give the employer sufficient advance notice of the absences, and that she failed to tell the supervisors about her pending doctor's appointment.

Held: The employer failed to submit any evidence of what criteria it used to determine the employe's absences were "unapproved." The employe did give advance notice of her absences which were for legitimate reasons, and there was no indication of a requirement that she had to give notice more in advance than she did. The commission's factual determinations are supported by credible and substantial evidence, and its legal conclusion of no misconduct is entitled to great weight. The conclusion of no misconduct was reasonable and is 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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