2005 Changes to PA UC Law
2005 Law Restores Non-Attorney Representation for Employers
On February 3, 2005, the Commonwealth Court issued its decision in Harkness v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 867 A. 2d 728 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005). The Court ruled that most employers may be represented only by an attorney in UC proceedings.
In response to that decision, on June 7, 2005, the General Assembly passed Act 5 of 2005, which was signed into law by Governor Rendell on June 15, 2005. Act 5 creates a new Section 214 in the Unemployment Compensation Law. This new section provides that "any party in any proceeding under this Act before the Department, a Referee or the Board may be represented by an attorney or other representative." Section 214 re-establishes the pre-Harkness rule regarding representation for employers. Once again, employers are able to use non-lawyers to advocate at hearings and file UC appeals and briefs.
Harkness did not affect a claimant's options for representation. Both before and after Harkness, a claimant could be represented by an attorney or non-attorney. Therefore, Act 5 does not change the rules regarding claimant representation.