Under the statutory requirements, a town must have "just cause" to discipline an employee. Wis. Stat. § 62.13(5)(em) (1999-2000). It is not necessary for a town to have an explicit rule prohibiting dishonesty in the workplace, as such a requirement is understood.
The appellant, a chief of police, initially had 25 disciplinary charges filed against him. A hearing examiner found that he had been dishonest in answering questions concerning the swearing in of two officers and the number of candidates he interviewed for a vacancy in the department. He was suspended. Appellant employee appealed a decision of appellee town’s employment commission that found him guilty of three misconduct charges. He sought a writ of mandamus in the circuit court to vacate the decision. The circuit court affirmed the decision and the employee appealed further, claiming that the hearing examiner did not proceed under a correct theory of law and that there was not substantial evidence to support the charges.
May dishonesty in the workplace be grounds for discipline?
The appellate court held, given that the employee’s statements were found to have been dishonest, he could reasonably have been expected to have known that dishonesty in the workplace would lead to disciplinary actions. The appellate court held that it would hold the examiner’s findings as true and that the length of the employee’s suspension was appropriate.The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.