A restaurant cook who was injured while cleaning a deep fryer was wrongfully terminated by her employer. The employer returned the injured worker back to work after the accident, but subsequently fired her based on allegations of food theft.

At hearing, the Administrative Law Judge found that the employee was injured at work and was subsequently terminated. Pursuant to Wis. Stat. Sec. 102.35(3), it was then the employer’s burden to show that there was a reasonable basis for terminating the employee. The employer failed to demonstrate that it had a reasonable basis to fire the employee because the owner of the company had no evidence to substantiate the allegations of theft. As such, the Judge ordered the employer to pay the employee her lost wages caused by the wrongful termination.

The employer appealed this decision. On November 30, 2011, the Labor Industry Review Commission (LIRC) upheld the decision of the Administrative Law Judge. LIRC’s decision may be found here.

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