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

Subject: Cindy L. Klatt v. LIRC & City of Waukesha, Case 02 CV 892 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Waukesha Co., October 30, 2002)

Digest Codes: VL 1005.01 

The employee worked for about ten years as a police officer for Waukesha County. The relevant collective bargaining agreement contained a residency clause requiring police officers to reside within the county or within 20 miles of the police station. The employee became engaged to an investigator for the Racine County Sheriff's Department, which also had a residency requirement. There was no place that both the employee and her prospective husband could live that would satisfy both residency requirements. The prospective husband requested an exemption from Racine County's residency requirement but it was denied. The Waukesha County Deputy Chief denied the employee an exemption from Waukesha's requirement, as did the Waukesha County Common Counsel.

Thereafter, the employee moved out of Waukesha County to take up residence with her new husband. She was given 30 days to reestablish her residency within the county but she refused, and as a result, her employment with the county ended.

The appeal tribunal found that the employee had terminated her employment with good cause attributable to the employer, because both she and her husband could not satisfy their respective residency requirements. The commission reversed and found that while the residency requirement presented a hardship for the employee, the employer acted reasonably in requiring that it be followed. The employee chose to move rather than keep her job, and this constituted a quitting. There was no good cause attributable to the employer for that quitting.

The employee appealed and argued that she had good cause for quitting because she had filed a separate circuit court action alleging that the residency requirement violated her First Amendment right of association and her Fourteenth amendment rights of privacy and equal protection.

Held: The commission's decision is affirmed. The court, without elaboration as to its analysis, indicated that in a separate court action it had held that the residency requirement did not result in a constitutional violation. As a result, there was no good cause attributable to the employer for the employee's quitting.

[LIRC decision

Circuit Court decision affirmed  August 13, 2003, sub nom. Klatt v. LIRC and City of Waukesha, 2003 WI App 197, 669 N.W.2d 752.

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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