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

Subject: Lucretia J. Luedeman v. LIRC and Kaap's Old World Chocolates, Inc., Case 10-CV-2969 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Brown Co., May 9, 2011)

Digest Codes: VL 1007.01 - Quit vs. Discharge/Layoff

Digest Summary: On her last day at work, the claimant became upset while one of the co-owners was talking to her, and she told the co-owner she was quitting. Before she left, she also told the other co-owner that she was quitting. She then left and did not return. The ALJ did not believe that the co-owner had told the claimant to leave or intended to discharge her, and he found a quitting, not for any exception allowing benefit payment. LIRC affirmed.

Held: Affirmed. Luedeman argues that she did not quit her employment because a co-owner of the business told her to leave and that when Luedeman told this information to the other co-owner that he replied, “Okay.” LIRC is correct that the concept of voluntary termination is not limited to the instance when an employee states that he or she “quits.” The trier of fact may look to the employee's actions or conduct to determine what the employee's intent was in relation to the continuation of the employment relationship. Here, Luedeman denies that her statement that she quit meant that she had terminated the relationship because a co-owner also told her to leave. LIRC has held that employees owe a duty to definitely ascertain the employment status before concluding that an employment relationship is fully terminated. Luedeman made no effort to definitely ascertain that the co-owner had terminated her.

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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