On February 17, 2012, the Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) issued a decision finding a warehouse technician eligible for unemployment insurance benefits and reversing an administrative law judge’s decision that the employee was discharged for misconduct within the meaning of Wis. Stat. Sec. 108.04(5).

The technician, a seven year employee of Ministry Home Care Services LLC, had been working late one evening when he was pulled over by a police officer for swerving. The employee had been taking prescribed pain medication, and the police officer issued him a citation for Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated. The employer was aware that the technician took medication for his pain, and the employee was unaware that the medication adversely affected his driving.

LIRC noted, “[t]he employee was otherwise a good employee with a positive work history,” and while the employer “made a reasonable business decision to discharge the employee… the employee lacked any intent to harm the employer’s interests.” As such, LIRC found the employee eligible for unemployment benefits since he was discharged but not for misconduct connected with his work.

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