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


Subject: James R. Wittlieff  v. LIRC and Greendale School District (Hearing No. 97607841MW) (No. 98 CV 009379, Wis. Cir. Ct., Milwaukee County November 29, 1999, Thomas P. Donegan Circuit Judge)

Digest Codes: MC 610.25  PC 715

The employe began working for the school district in January 1975 as a high school physical education teacher. The district adopted an anti-sexual harassment policy in 1993. The employe was aware of the policy at least since 1994. In March 1994 the superintendent of schools met with him regarding allegations by several students of improper behavior and sexual harassment. During the first semester of the 1996-1997 school year two female students complained that the employe touched them improperly, made comments of a sexual nature and conducted classes in a way that emphasized sex. In August 1997 a female student and her parents filed a sexual harassment complaint with the school district about the employe. The employe was placed on administrative leave in August 1997 and terminated in November 1997.

Held: The commission’s decision is entitled to great deference. The record establishes that the employe took action toward a number of students in violation of the school district’s sexual harassment policy. The record establishes that the employe was informed and educated about the policy before he took those actions. The employe had an opportunity to rebut the evidence in the record but he failed to put evidence of any type on the record. Failure to testify allows a trier of fact to draw an adverse inference since this is a civil matter. The commission’s decision is affirmed.


[Commission decision]

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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