The Kentucky Chamber and several partnering organizations have filed a friend of the court brief with the Kentucky Supreme Court in a case that impacts how the appeals process for unemployment insurance claims are handled.
The decision threatens to upend a common practice of employers relying on non-attorneys such as human resource professionals to represent them when contesting a claim for unemployment insurance benefits.
Not all claims made for benefits meet eligibility requirements, and in 2019 15,000 claims were denied. The current process allows employers to defend themselves from meritless claims efficiently and cost-effectively.
The brief explains that should employers be required to retain an attorney, the cost to address meritless claims would increase to the point that such efforts may be abandoned. This could threaten the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund’s solvency. The fund is used to pay benefits to those who become unemployed and is supported entirely by a tax paid by employers.
“All eyes are on the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund right now as the pandemic and forced business closures and curtailments have created a record number of unemployed Kentuckians,” said Chamber Vice President of Public Affairs Kate Shanks. “Now more than ever, we have to be careful that this system isn’t further stretched as employers face significant tax increases to cover the pandemic-related costs to the system.”
Several organizations, including Commerce Lexington, Kentucky Beverage Association, Kentucky Nonprofit Network, National Federation of Independent Business, Society for Human Resource Management, Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management, Association of Unemployment Tax Organizations, and UWC – Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers’ Compensation, joined the brief.