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

Subject: George J. Hermes & Associates, Inc. v. LIRC and Shirley Golder (Hearing No. 94601691WK) Case No. 95-CV-0348 (Wis. Cir. Ct. Waukesha County, January 18, 1996) Roger P. Murphy, Circuit Judge.

Digest Codes: MC 688  MC 688.1

The employer is in business as a manufacturer’s representative. The employe began work for the employer as a secretary in July 1987. She also provided secretarial services for another manufacturer’s representative. The employe had attendance problems during the last 18 months of her employment but the employers attributed it to personal problems and overlooked it. In November 1993 one employer asked the employe to get it together and stated they expected better things since her divorce was completed. They began keeping attendance records in January 1994. The employe was late for work on January 27, 1994 and was fired when she reported late on January 28, 1994. The commission found that the employe’s discharge was not for misconduct.

Held: The employe’s attendance record was overlooked for 1-1/2 years. The employer had no formal or written policies regarding absences or tardiness. It did not have a progressive disciplinary process. The employe was never told that her job was at risk because of her attendance. There was no threat of any discipline. She was never given a written attendance warning. The employe had excuses for her absences and tardiness and notified the employer of her absences. Her pay was never reduced because of her attendance. The employer had no evidence of specific attendance violations prior to January 1, 1994. The employe’s last tardies were caused by extreme winter weather. In light of these facts the commission could reasonably find that the employer has not established the existence of intentional and substantial disregard of the employer’s interests. In the absence of such intent, the commission could reasonably find no misconduct. The commission’s decision is not irrational or contrary to legislative intent. Benefits allowed.

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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