SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
506 N.E.2d 560, 115 Ill. 2d 347, 106 Ill. Dec. 760 1987.IL.88
Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Marilyn R. Komosa, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH delivered the opinion of the court.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE GOLDENHERSH
Plaintiff, Carlo Ferretti, filed this action in the circuit court of Cook County for administrative review of the decision of the Illinois Department of Labor Board of Review denying his claim for unemployment benefits. The circuit court affirmed the decision. On appeal, the appellate court reversed (137 Ill. App. 3d 246), and we allowed the petition for leave to appeal of the defendants, the Department of Labor (the Department), E. Allen Bernardi, Director, the Department of Labor Board of Review (the Board), and Diamond Technology Industries, Inc. (the employer) (103 Ill. 2d R. 315(a)).
On October 15, 1982, plaintiff was discharged by the employer from his position as a lathe operator, allegedly because of inadequate job performance. A claims adjudicator found plaintiff eligible for unemployment benefits, and plaintiff subsequently received weekly benefits of $171, to a total of $2,736. The employer appealed, and the local office of the Department issued a notice of reconsideration and appeal affirming the claims adjudicator's determination.
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." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 420.
"Sec. 602. Discharge for misconduct -- Felony.
A. An individual shall be ineligible for benefits for the week in which he has been discharged for misconduct connected with his work and, thereafter, until he has become reemployed and has had earnings equal to or in excess of his current weekly benefit amount in each of four calendar weeks which are either for services in employment, or have been or will be reported pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act by each employing unit for which such services are performed and which submits a statement certifying to that fact." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 432.)
On appeal from the decision, a hearing referee for the Department reversed the decision of the claims adjudicator, holding that plaintiff was disqualified under section 602 from receiving benefits by reason of misconduct. The Board set aside the decision of the referee and remanded for a new hearing. The decision of the referee following the second hearing again reversed the determination of the claims adjudicator. The order of reversal was based on the referee's finding that plaintiff was ineligible because he did not "actively seek work" as required by section 500of the Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 420.) The order denying plaintiff's claim for benefits involved only the period of October 17, 1982, through October 30, 1982. Plaintiff then filed a claim for benefits for the weeks following October 30, 1982. The claims adjudicator, finding that plaintiff had not been "actively seeking work," denied plaintiff's claim for the period from October 31, 1982, through April 16, 1983. Plaintiff appealed to the Board of Review, and a hearing was held on October 25, 1983, at which the employer did not appear. The facts elicited at this hearing are undisputed, are adequately stated in the opinion of the appellate court, and will be summarized here only to the extent necessary to discuss the issues.
Plaintiff testified that he was ready, willing, and able to work, that the number of job opportunities was very limited, and that it was difficult to find painting jobs during the winter months. Plaintiff introduced two lists identifying 48 employers whom he had contacted during his job search. One list was on a form provided by the Department of Labor requesting all claimants to list: (1) the date of contact; (2) the name of the employer contacted; (3) the person contacted; (4) the method of contact; (5) the type of work sought; and (6) the results attained. Plaintiff completed one of these forms during the course of his job search, and it contained the names of 19 companies which plaintiff had contacted in person, by telephone, or by mail in response to help-wanted ads. The second list contained only brief descriptions of jobs about which plaintiff had inquired, and contained only the month (year omitted) and the names of companies or individuals contacted. This list was not prepared on the Department of Labor's form, and it omitted the date and year of contact, method of contact, type of work sought, and result attained. Plaintiff acknowledged that this list was prepared on the eve of the hearing pursuant to his attorney's advice, and because the list was compiled well after the claimed contacts, it was much less complete than the other list. He explained that he was not aware that he was required to list these informal, personal contacts. In May 1983, he formed his own house-painting business, terminating the period for which he has claimed benefits.
The Board affirmed the claims adjudicator's and hearing referee's denial of benefits. On administrative review the circuit court affirmed. On ...