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

Subject: Eric C. Lee  v. Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. and LIRC, Case No. 00-CV-177 (Wis. Cir. Ct., La Crosse Co., January 10, 2001)

Digest Codes: VL 1007.05  VL 1059.07

The employee began work for Ashley Furniture in June 1998. His job was to load trailers. He received a copy of the company policy manual, including its attendance policy, when he was hired. Though aware of the attendance policy, the employee was periodically late for work or absent. On September 7, 1999, the employee received a written two-day suspension notice for absences taken between August 30 and September 4. The notice included a warning that any further violations would result in termination. He served the suspension on September 8 and 9, 1999, and returned to work on September 10.

The employee reported to work on September 11, 1999, but told his supervisor that he would not work because he had not received his paycheck for the period ending August 28, 1999. He was told that the paycheck was mailed because he was absent on the day checks were handed out and he would probably receive it later that day. Nevertheless the employee refused to work that day. He reported to work on September 14, 1999 and worked his shift. His employment was terminated later that day. The commission found that the employee voluntarily terminated his employment and denied unemployment benefits.

Held: It is clear that the employee voluntarily terminated his employment on September 11, 1999 when he refused to work. He decided to forego future employment when he walked off the job site. Although the employee reported to work on September 14, 1999, and Ashley allowed him to work, his discharge later that same day in no way affects the action the employee took on September 11, 1999, in quitting his job.

Though the employee had not received his paycheck, he knew it was in the mail and would probably be received later that day. Any delay he had to suffer was not so unreasonable or egregious to justify his refusal to work. He has not established that he had good cause to refuse to work. Commission decision 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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uploaded 2001/01/31