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

Subject: Brian A. Schleicher vs. LIRC and Dodge County Highway Department, Case No. 02 CV 237 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Dodge County, Oct 20, 2002)

Digest Codes: AA 130   MC 617   MC 692    MC 692.02

Schleicher began working for the county in 1985. He drove a vehicle to plow and patrol county highways and respond to other emergency situations. His job responsibilities included a requirement that he have a commercial drivers license, be able to work up to 16 hours, have four hours of relief and return to work. In November 1999 Schleicher was notified that future incidents of a serious nature involving his employment could result in immediate discharge.

On May 27, 2000, Schleicher received a second traffic citation for operating while intoxicated. His license was suspended on July 19, 2000. He drive county vehicles on July 19 and July 20, 2000. He was granted an occupational drivers license on July 21, 2000. On August 10, 2000, he was suspended for 10 days for driving county vehicles without a valid operators license. That suspension included a last chance agreement.

On September 20, 2001, Schleicher's license was revoked for driving while intoxicated. He was issued a restricted occupational commercial drivers license which limited his driving to no more than 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week. Schleicher was discharged because the restricted license did not allow him to fully perform his job duties. The commission found that Schleicher was discharged for misconduct.

Held: Judicial review of commission decisions is highly deferential. Findings of fact are conclusive except for circumstances not raised in this case. Courts have given great weight to the commission's determinations of misconduct. Here the plaintiff raised no credible claim that the statutory grounds exist to overturn the commission's decision. Instead he challenges the commission's finding that the employer's policies required him to be available to drive up to 16 hours at a time. That fact finding is supported and is beyond the court's jurisdiction. Plaintiff cites no law that the employer should have accommodated his alcoholism. The court notes that while alcoholism may compel its victims to drink, it does not compel them to drink and drive. Benefits denied.

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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