Jackson Kelly Attorneys file Amicus Brief for Kentucky Chamber, SHRM, and others on Unemployment Issue in Kentucky
October 16, 2020
Jackson Kelly attorneys Jay Ingle and Alexander Gardner recently filed an Amicus Brief with the Kentucky Supreme Court on behalf of a number of prominent business organizations in a case addressing whether employers are required to be represented by attorneys at unemployment compensation hearings. Arguing that employers should not be required to use attorneys in every unemployment matter, Jackson Kelly filed the Amicus Brief on behalf of the following organizations:
- Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
- Commerce Lexington
- Kentucky Beverage Association
- Kentucky Nonprofit Network
- National Federation of Independent Business
- UWC – Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers’ Compensation.
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management (KSHRM)
- Association of Unemployment Tax Organizations
Traditionally businesses utilized non-attorneys, like human resources managers, at these fact-finding hearings that are led by a referee who is not required to be an attorney and that do not adhere to the rules of evidence. However, in Nichols v. Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission, the Kentucky Court of Appeals held that the statute allowing for the representation of corporations and partnerships at these hearings by non-attorneys was unconstitutional because it infringed on the Supreme Court’s exclusive power to regulate the practice of law. The Kentucky Supreme Court granted review.
The business organizations joined together for the filing to provide context and support for the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission’s position and inform the Court about Kentucky’s unemployment compensation system to explain the policy rationales for continuing to allow employers to proceed without the need for attorneys before the Unemployment Insurance Commission. The brief accomplished this by helping the Court understand the unemployment insurance system in the United States, the interplay between states and the United States Department of Labor, the nature of unemployment insurance hearings themselves, the policy goals that have shaped these hearings, how these policy goals will be thwarted through the insertion of attorneys into the process, and the ultimate consequences of requiring employers to be represented by counsel.
A copy of the Amicus Brief can be found here.