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Wisconsin Court Rules Errors Don't Preclude Unemployment Benefits

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin appeals court has ruled employees can't be denied unemployment benefits for inadvertent errors, even if they are repeated after warnings.

Thursday's 4th District Court of Appeals ruling is its first brush at interpreting "substantial fault," a new threshold the state Legislature established in 2013 tightening eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Employees can't receive benefits if they're terminated for "substantial fault," defined as acts that violate reasonable employer requirements. Under the law, substantial fault doesn't include inadvertent errors.

In this case, Lela Operton was a full-time clerk at Walgreens who made eight "cash handling errors."Walgreens terminated her employment and objected to her request for unemployment benefits.

The court ruled that Operton's actions were inadvertent errors and that errors don't constitute substantial fault, even if repeated after a warning.

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