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

Subject: Rebecca S. Chapin  v. Marathon Implement Co. and LIRC (Wis. Cir. Ct., Langlade Co., Case No. 98 CV 47, Langlade Co., March 16, 2000)

Digest Codes: MC 666.01   MC 689

The employe worked for the employer for one year and four months. She worked full-time and did office and bookkeeping work. She did not work on October 10, 1997 and did not call in. The next day the employer told her she had to call if she would be late or absent. On October 22, 1997 the employe was warned about projects that she had been given and had disregarded. She reported late to work on five days in November and December 1997. In November 1997 the employe learned the hourly wages of the shop employes. Two or three days before her discharge the employe told one of the shop workers that she knew how much he was paid. The shop worker complained to the employer that the employe told him she knew how much he was paid. The employe also told her husband how much the maintenance workers earned. The employe was discharged for violating the employer’s confidentiality policy and for not getting things completed on time. The commission affirmed a decision of an administrative law judge that the employe was discharged for misconduct.

Held: The commission found that there was a breach of confidentiality even though the information was only disclosed to the employe’s husband and the worker. The employe knew that confidentiality was important to the employer. Breaches of confidentiality destroy the trust of an office. It is then impossible for an office to work effectively. The commission’s findings have a basis in the testimony. The court adopts the standards for review found in the commission’s brief. The commission’s decision is affirmed. Benefits are denied.

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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