A significant portion of my practice is handling unemployment insurance appeals for both employees and employers. Also, as I have written previously on this blog, there were changes in recent years to the law pertaining to unemployment compensation in Wisconsin which affected the eligibility of benefits to people who were terminated (i.e., "fired") from their job and as that law has been interpreted and addressed, I find it useful to write and educate about the topic as many people Google the topic when they are going through the process. While I believe it good to educate yourself on these topics, nothing replaces competent and reliable legal representation!
When determining whether an employee/claimant is eligible for benefits based upon their discharge, the analysis first begins with whether the employee was discharged for misconduct by engaging in any of the actions enumerated in Wis. Stat. sec. 108.04(5)(a)-(g). If those provisions do not apply, it is then determined whether the employee's actions constitute misconduct as originally defined by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Boyton Cab Co. v. Netback, 237 Wis. 249, 259-60, 296 N.W. 636 (1941). I have written about Boyton Cab Co. previously here.
If "misconduct" is not found, it is then determined whether the discharge was for substantial fault by the employee connected with the employee's work, as set forth in Wis. Stat. sec. 108.04(5g). I have written about "misconduct" and "substantial fault previously here. Substantial fault was the newer addition to Wisconsin unemployment law and includes those acts or omissions of an employee over which the employee exercised reasonable control and that violate reasonable requirements of the employer, but it does not include minor infractions of rules unless an infraction is repeated after warning, inadvertent errors, or any failure of the employee to perform work because of insufficient skill, ability, or equipment. Wis. Sat. sec. 108.04(5g). This is very technical and complex legalese, but these cases come down to the facts and how they are argued during an appeals hearing, which makes having legal representation so important and crucial.