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

Subject: Veronica B. Schallock v. Industrial Commission and Sprague Electric,  (Wis. Cir. Ct., Dane Co., January 28, 1958, Hon. Edwin M. Wilkie presiding)

Digest Codes: VL 1007.20

After a union organizing drive she had been working on was voted down in an election on January 4, the employee informed her immediate supervisor, who advised the employer's management, that she would quit at the close of work Friday, January 7.  Her communication was received and her payroll records were marked accordingly, to pay her on January 7, 1955, for the week ending upon that date as well as for the week ending December 31, 1954, whereas under normal routine as an employee remaining on the job she would not have been paid until January 14 for the week ending January 7.  On Wednesday, January 5, the employee changed her mind and informed her supervisor and management that she wanted to stay.  No one had yet been hired to replace her, but after a conference  the employer's management decided not to allow her to continue working after January 7.  The employer's witnesses explained that they had determined it would not be necessary to replace her, and were concerned that they might have to lay someone off to bring her back, and that if they brought her back they would be concerned that she would decide to quit again and this would be disruptive to staffing. 

The Appeal Tribunal found that the employer had not changed its position between the time of the employee's notification to terminate on January 4th and her change of mind and offer to stay on January 6th, and it concluded that under the circumstances the employee must be deemed not to have terminated her employment but to have been discharged by the employer, not for misconduct.  However, the Commission reversed the Appeal Tribunal, concluding that "[t]he employment relationship is terminable at the will of either party. The employee terminated her employment by giving the employer notice of termination to be effective Friday, January 7, 1955. The employer received and accepted that notice of termination and chose to let the termination stand despite a change of heart on the part of the employee. The commission therefore finds that the employee terminated her employment, within the meaning of section 108.04 (7)(a) of the statutes". 

Held:  The Commission's decision is affirmed. 

"Since the record reflects no written or specific verbal contract of employment it would seem that the employment relationship was terminable at will or upon reasonable notice which could be to the end of a pay period. [citations omitted].  The logical argument follows that when plaintiff transmitted to the employer her notice of termination of employment effective at the close of work upon pay day, January 7, 1955, that this put an end to the employment on January 7, 1955, regardless of what the employer did or did not do about the matter; and that after such notice of termination the employment contract could only be reinstated by mutual agreement.  

"In any event the Commission found upon adequate supporting credible evidence that the employer received and accepted that notice of termination. It has long been established that the voluntary resignation of an employee, evidenced by a clear expression of the employee's intention to quit the employment, promptly and unconditionally accepted by the employer before the resignation is withdrawn by the employee, terminates the contract of employment. [citations omitted].  Thus it is apparent that the employer does not stand or fall solely upon the doctrine of estoppel, as determined by the Commission's appellate tribunal.

"Plaintiff's contention that she was denied due process because she did not receive a copy of the employer's brief upon review by the Commission is without merit. It was at best an irregularity which could not have affected the result. The stipulation entered into by the parties indicates that plaintiff received a copy of the petition for review which the employer filed with the Commission and which stated, 'Brief in support of employer's position will be filed'. Plaintiff was thus placed on notice and could have pressed for and obtained a copy of the employer's brief had she seen fit to do so."

Please note that this is a summary prepared by staff of the commission, not a verbatim reproduction of the entire court decision.

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