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

Subject: Marci Robison v. LIRC, Case 14 CV 1440 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Racine Co., January 15, 2015)

Digest Codes: MC 601, MC 687, PC 757

The employee worked 15 years for a large retail store, most recently as a department manager (Cabinets and Appliances). The employer's policies permit the sale of merchandise at a discount by employees only after obtaining the approval of the store manager. The employee was aware of this policy. At the beginning of the year (2014), the employee was directed by the employer to make an effort to clear her sale floor so new models could be displayed for sale. The employee had a floor model oven that had been on display for approximately one year. Because the oven was slightly damaged, it had been marked down from its original retail price of $2,400 to $1,833.

The employee agreed to sell the oven to a customer for $300 in January of 2014. The employee attempted to contact the store manager that day but was unable to reach the manager. The employee agreed to the discounted price without manager approval. The employee then processed the sale transaction as if it had been approved by the store manager when in fact it had not. When the employer learned of the sale, several days later, it discharged the employee for violating its written policy prohibiting the sale of discounted merchandise without prior store manager approval. The commission found the employee was discharged for misconduct pursuant to Wis. Stat. ยง 108.04(5), as amended by 2013 Wis. Act 20.

Held: The circuit court afforded the commission decision great weight deference and affirmed the commission's decision finding misconduct under the new misconduct law. The circuit court noted the aggravating circumstances surrounding the employee's violation of the policy, in particular the large amount of the discount and processing the transaction as if the store manager had approved the discounted sale when the store manager had not approved it.

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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