Leitner v. LIRC (Unemployment Benefits)

In Leitner v. LIRC (2019AP1196), the Court of Appeals District IV held that the plaintiff was ineligible for immediate unemployment benefits after voluntarily terminating her employment.

Plaintiff Rebecca Leitner was working at the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation from 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. In June 2017, the Medical Foundation changed her schedule to 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., making it difficult for her to transport her child to school. In July 2017, Leitner was approved for leave for four hours a day to care for a sick family member. In September 2017, Leitner voluntarily terminated her employment at the Medical foundation, citing the schedule change and need of more time to care for her sick family member.

Despite voluntarily terminating her employment, Leitner argued she was entitled to immediate unemployment benefits because she met two exemptions under Wisconsin’s unemployment benefits statutes (Wis. Stat. § 108.04(7)):

  1. There was good cause attributable to her employer because the change in her schedule made it difficult for her to transport her child to school and fundamentally altered the terms of her employment.
  2. She terminated her employment to care for a family member.

The court found that Leitner was not eligible for immediate benefits because:

  1. The change in schedule made it difficult, but not impossible, for her to transport her child to school. Furthermore, the original 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. schedule had not been a specified condition of her employment at the Medical Foundation.
  2. According to a physician’s report, Leitner did not need more than the four hours the Medical Foundation allotted her to care for her sick family member.

 

 

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