Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Labor and Industry Seeks Reversal of Commonwealth Court Holding That Employers Must Be Represented By Attorneys At Unemployment Compensation Hearings

In Harkness v. UCBR the Commonwealth Court accepted the Claimant's argument that the Employer was improperly represented by a non-attorney "tax consultant" in an unemployment compensation hearing. Based on the unauthorized practice of law by this individual, the case was remanded to the U.C. referee for proceedings consistent with the opinion. The Court also stated its holding should only be applied prospectively.

On behalf of Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Stephen M. Schmerin announced yesterday the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review has asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to consider reversing the Commonwealth Court's ruling. The reason given was that representation by attorneys instead of non-attorneys is unfair to Claimants and Employers and will create additional delay.

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