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Rosenbaum v. Johnson

OPINION FILED MAY 23, 1978.

JEAN ROSENBAUM, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

DONALD A. JOHNSON, DIRECTOR, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE STAMOS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied June 15, 1978.

This is an administrative review action (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110, par. 264 et seq.). Plaintiff appeals from the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County which affirmed the decision of the Board of Review of the Illinois Department of Labor, which denied plaintiff's application for benefits under the Unemployment Insurance Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 48, par. 300 et seq.). The thrust of plaintiff's contentions concerns the proper interpretation of section 500(C) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 48, par. 420(C)) which provides:

"Eligibility for benefits. An unemployed individual shall be eligible to receive benefits with respect to any week only if the Director finds that:

C. He is able to work, and is available for work; provided that during the period in question he was actively seeking work."

On May 16, 1976, plaintiff filed a claim for unemployment compensation. The claims adjudicator determined that based on wages for insured work which she performed as an employee of the State of Illinois, she would be entitled, if eligible, to a weekly benefit of $54, and a maximum benefit of $1404 during the benefit year. On June 22, 1976, the claims adjudicator determined that plaintiff was ineligible for benefits for each week after May 16, 1976, based on her unwillingness to seek full-time work, her expressed position being that she was willing to work three days per week.

Plaintiff appealed this decision to the referee, who held an evidentiary hearing at which the following evidence was adduced. Plaintiff last worked for a local State office of unemployment compensation on a part-time basis for approximately five years. During this period she also worked as a substitute teacher for the Chicago Board of Education. She took a leave of absence from the Board of Education in November 1975, due to her being attacked. In March of 1976, she took a leave of absence from her State job due to illness. When she was ready to return to work, a director in the agency told her that she could be hired only on a full-time basis. Due to her illness she refused this offer, but expressed her willingness to work three days per week. Subsequently, she was placed on a "nonscheduled work week."

Plaintiff testified that at the time she originally applied for benefits to the time of the hearing, her health permitted her to work a maximum of three days per week. She claimed that she suffered from a heart condition and a total loss of hearing in one ear. She suggested that her hearing loss was job related. Alleged substantiation for these ailments appeared in her brief but were not made part of the administrative record.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Referee found that plaintiff was ineligible for benefits for the period from May 16, 1976, to June 19, 1976, because she was not available for full-time work. Plaintiff appealed this decision to the Board of Review which affirmed the referee's decision. It found that eligibility requires that a person be "genuinely attached to the labor force, that is, ready, willing and able to accept regular, full-time employment which he has reasonable prospects of obtaining." After her petition for rehearing was denied, plaintiff commenced an administrative review action. Following a hearing in the circuit court, the decision of the Board of Review was affirmed.

At the outset we note that the claims adjudicator found that plaintiff had "good cause" for voluntarily leaving her State job, and this finding has not been challenged. Furthermore, the computation of plaintiff's benefits was based solely on her State employment. Her job as a substitute teacher was not insured work which would form the basis of benefits. Finally, plaintiff fully presented her arguments to the referee and the Board of Review that the Unemployment Insurance Act contemplated benefits for part-time workers.

Plaintiff contends that certain sections of the Unemployment Insurance Act provide for benefits to a claimant who is only available for part-time work. *fn1 She refers to section 603 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 48, par. 433) among others. Section 603 provides for certain situations where a claimant, presumably eligible, will be temporarily disqualified from receiving benefits. It provides in pertinent part:

"An individual shall be ineligible for benefits if he has failed, without good cause, * * * to accept suitable work when offered him by the employment office or an employing unit, * * *.

In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, consideration shall be given to the degree of risk involved to his health, safety, and morals, his physical fitness and prior training, his experience and prior earnings, his length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in his ...


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