Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission --
Summary of Wisconsin Court Decision relating to Unemployment Insurance
Subject: Grover S. Thompson (Hrg. No. 97005913JV) v. Labor and Industry Review
Commission and Elkhorn Webpress, Inc., Case 98CV00333 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Walworth Co.,
November 25, 1998)
Digest Codes: MC 605.091 VL 1001.09
The employe worked as a truck loader for the employer, a printing business. He stopped working on 8/20/97 due to a back injury. In October 1997, the employer received a phone call from Racine County indicating that the employe would be serving a jail sentence there, and they needed to confirm his shift times for Huber purposes. The employe had been released by his doctor to return to work, but at that time the employer did not have a position available within his restrictions. Another doctor's release was faxed to the employer on 10/17/97, with revised restrictions, and this time the employer did have a suitable job. Later on October 17, 1997, the employe reported to Racine County jail to begin serving his sentence. The employer did not hear from the employe so it sent him a certified letter on 10/23/97 indicating that it had a job available for him. The employe's wife signed for this letter at his home address on 10/28/97. The letter indicated the job was on second shift and that the employe was expected to report to work on 10/29/97, at 3 p.m. The last sentence of the letter indicated that failure to report would result in voluntary termination. On 10/29/97, the employe was transferred from the Racine County jail to the Walworth County Huber facility. He arrived at that facility at approximately 2:30 p.m., but did not report for work that day nor did he contact the employer. When he attempted to report to work the next day he was sent away. On 11/6/97, the employer sent him a letter indicating that it considered him to have quit his employment as of 10/29/97.
The appeal tribunal and the commission both found a quit. On appeal, the employe argued that he never intended to quit, and that a jailer at the Walworth County facility had told him on 10/29/97, that he had telephoned the employer and the employer had said it was too late for the employe to report to work that day.
Held: The commission's decision is upheld. The employe failed to take reasonable steps to preserve his employment. The court did not directly address the factual allegation concerning the guard at Walworth County, but by accepting the commission's Findings of Fact, the court effectively affirmed the commission's determination that the employe's assertion was not credible.
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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