Julie Badel Quoted in “When Does HR Cross Over into the Practice of Law?”


Julie Badel, a Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Chicago office, was quoted in SHRM.org, in “When Does HR Cross Over into the Practice of Law?” by Allen Smith.

Following is an excerpt:

But Julie Badel, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green in Chicago, said, “The arguments that nonattorneys representing companies in unemployment hearings do not constitute the unauthorized practice of law are founded in practical considerations, not in legal arguments or any commonly accepted definition of ‘practicing law.’ “In other words, statutes as written might prohibit nonattorneys from representing businesses in hearings even if hiring lawyers to do so is impractical. She said that one court reached the conclusion that nonlawyers’ representation of businesses in unemployment compensation hearings was not practicing law partly because any other conclusion would dissuade employers from pursuing unemployment appeals, taxing the system. “Other considerations that have been mentioned are that unemployment proceedings are often uncomplicated with not a great deal at stake. This, of course, is not always the case.” …

Whether HR is unlawfully practicing law may depend on the stage of the proceeding. “The initial notice to an employer of an unemployment claim often requires the employer to respond with facts—either as to the amount of wages the former employee earned or the reason for separation. This type of request for factual information can be prepared and signed by a human resource representative,” Badel said. “But once the claim has moved to the hearing stage, whether before a hearings referee or administrative law judge or to a final appeal at the agency or to a court, petitions for appeal and similar documents should be reviewed and signed by lawyers.”