NFIB Files Amicus Brief in Kentucky Unemployment System Case

Date: September 30, 2020

NFIB argues employers shouldn’t be required to have counsel at unemployment hearings

FRANKFORT, K.Y. (Sept. 30, 2020) – NFIB filed an amicus brief in the Kentucky Supreme Court case Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission v. Michael Nichols et al., supporting the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission. NFIB believes the Court should reverse the Court of Appeals’ ruling that employers must be represented by counsel at an unemployment insurance hearing and that an employer’s appearance without counsel constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.

“It is important that the state’s unemployment compensation system runs efficiently and quickly,” said NFIB Kentucky State Director Tom Underwood. “If the Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s ruling, small businesses will now be required to have an attorney at unemployment proceedings, a costly burden for many owners. We urge the Court to reverse the decision.”

The brief explains 1) the unemployment insurance system was designed to be an informal and efficient manner of providing needed resources to out of work employees, 2) requiring employers to be represented by counsel would have significant impacts on the goals of the unemployment compensation system, and 3) participation in unemployment hearings does not constitute an unauthorized practice of law or impact the policies prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law.

NFIB filed the amicus brief with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Commerce Lexington, Kentucky Beverage Association, Kentucky Nonprofit Network, Society for Human Resource Managers, Kentucky Society for Human Resource Managers, Association of Unemployment Tax Organization, and UWC – Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers Compensation.

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center protects the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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