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

Subject:  Corporate Courier Express, Inc. v. LIRC and Christine M. Deel (Hearing No. 99603816MW) , Case 99-CV-009373 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Milwaukee Co., July 6, 2000)

Digest Codes: MC 610.25    PC 714.02  PC 714.07 

The employe worked for two years as a driver for the employer, a courier service. She was discharged for alleged excessive customer complaints and poor work performance. The employer alleged several instances in which the employe should have made deliveries earlier than she did, and several complaints from customers as a result. The employer also alleged receiving a complaint from a customer that the employe had yelled at its dock workers, and from another customer that the employe had lingered at its facility to talk with a security guard. The employe testified that the late deliveries were due to route changes and weather problems, denied yelling at the dock workers, and denied talking with the security guard.

The appeal tribunal found misconduct but the commission reversed on the basis that all the employer’s evidence was hearsay.

Held: The commission is affirmed. The employer failed to provide firsthand evidence substantiating its allegations. The business records exception (Wis. Stat. 908.03(6)) is inapplicable because the warnings submitted were written by individuals who lacked personal knowledge of the employe’s alleged misconduct. The residual hearsay exception (Wis. Stat. 908.03(24)) was also inapplicable because the evidence submitted was not shown to have circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness. Finally, the exception found in Wis. Stat. 908.01(4)(b) -- admissions by a party opponent -- was claimed because the employe had signed previous written warnings detailing much of the alleged misconduct. However, the employe denied the misconduct, and the signatures were merely for receipt of the warnings and did not constitute admissions. Exclusion of the hearsay evidence results in a failure of the employer’s burden of proof.

[LIRC decision in this case]

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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