Monday, October 18, 2010

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Upholds LIRC's Finding of Misconduct After Claimant is Incarcerated on Lunch Break

In a short and simple opinion, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld the Labor and Industry Review Commission's ("LIRC") determination that a claimant who was found to have been terminated for misconduct connected to their employment after she was pulled over and incarcerated for failing to report and serve a previously imposed sentence.

The basis for the decision is also simple:
Based on these factual findings, the Commission concluded that Gandy's absences from work constituted misconduct under the statute because they were Gandy's fault; she was incarcerated due to her conviction of a crime and subsequent failure to appear for her previously imposed sentence. This conclusion is consistent with other decisions in which the Commission has held that intentional behavior that leads to an employee's incarceration and absence from work constitutes misconduct under WIS. STAT. § 108.04(5). See, e.g., Albrecht v. Farm & Fleet of Monroe, Inc., UI Hearing Decision No. 05003647JV (LIRC November 28, 2007). Gandy has not shown that the Commission's decision was unreasonable. Therefore, we affirm the Commission's conclusion that Gandy's absences from work due to her incarceration constituted misconduct.
Thus, though it may have technically have been the police's fault that the claimant was handcuffed and taken to jail, it's the claimant's fault she was eligible to be carted off to jail and, therefore, this amounts to "misconduct" for purposes of denying unemployment benefits.

The case is Gandy v. LIRC, 2009AP2157.

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