Department of Legal Illumination | Letters | Chicago Reader

Department of Legal Illumination 

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To the editors:

As an attorney Referee-Director's Representative of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, I read Michael Miner's article "Why Do Newspapers Fear This Woman?" (referring to Director Sally Jackson) in your May 4, 1990, issue with interest. It is unfortunate that Mr. Miner relied so heavily on two partisans with axes to grind. It only added to the inadequacies of the article. It would be hoped that your publication is a cut above the mass media, and that you would be willing to cover the other side of the matter.

The unemployment insurance program and the Illinois statute under which it operates are complex. The so-called "independent contractor" issue is even more complex. I spent five years studying the matter and all the cases decided by the Illinois Supreme and Appellate courts on the subject, and I also studied the briefs filed by the parties with the appellate level courts, in addition to several law journal articles. I then wrote a monograph on the subject over another period of a year and a half, complete with citations.

One of the most important things to consider is that when Joseph Thornton and John Hirschfeld speak of the so-called "independent contractor," they are within the context of the common-law. The only problem is that the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act and the so-called "independent contractor" under it are not in the context of the common-law but a departure from it. The Illinois Department of Employment Security only applies the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act as it was formulated by the General Assembly and as it has been interpreted and applied by the Illinois appellate level courts. We do not make law. We only apply it.

I cordially invite Mr. Miner to investigate the full breadth of the matter. I would be pleased to assist him. I am certain he will discover some interesting facts.

Michael Kalika



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