Occ. Code 6547200



New York State Department of Civil Service

Classification Standard


Unemployment Insurance Referees conduct hearings and render decisions, in accordance with the New York State Unemployment Insurance Law, related statutes, and special Federal programs, for claimants or employers appealing initial determinations or proposed actions of the administrators of special programs.

Positions in this class are located in the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board and are assigned to offices in New York, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Binghamton.


Unemployment Insurance Referee positions are characterized by the conduct of hearings, the evaluation of factual information and the determining of claimants’ or registrants’ eligibility or employers’ liability in accordance with the New York State Unemployment Insurance Law, related statutes and special Federal programs for claimants and employers appealing initial determinations.

The critical activities performed by the Unemployment Insurance Referees include review of case folders to determine substantive issues involved, directing issuance of subpoenas requiring attendance of witnesses or the production of necessary documents, taking of depositions from witnesses, ruling on the admissibility of evidence, acting as presiding officer in the taking of testimony of all parties appearing at the hearing and rendering a written decision. The decision of the referee, unless appealed, is final on all questions of law and fact. Hearings are conducted informally and the formal rules of evidence are not binding.

Referees in all offices perform substantially the same activities. Decisions are made within the framework of the Unemployment Insurance Law, applicable Federal statutes, Rules and Regulations, interpretations, procedures, precedents and court decisions. The majority of positions are in the New York City Referee Adjudication Subsection while others are in Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester and Binghamton (performing the same functions.)

Clerical support services to the Unemployment Insurance Referees are provided by various classes.

Other positions in the State service involved in the conduct of hearings and rendering of decisions based on a body of laws, rules and procedures, include such classes as Hearing Officer and Motor Vehicle Referee.


Prior to the hearing appealing a determination regarding unemployment insurance benefits or employer taxes, the Unemployment Insurance Referee reviews the case folders assigned for the hearing and determines the issues involved.

Conducts hearings on such subjects as eligibility for benefits, refusal of suitable employment, availability for and capability of employment, voluntary leaving of employment, loss of employment due to misconduct, industrial controversy, wages, coverage, overpayment of benefits and the recoverability of overpayments, willful false statements to obtain benefits, refunds, or employer liability for contribution, experience rating, and assessments regarding the amount of contributions payable. Also conducts hearing under special Federal programs such as WIN, TRA, DUA.

Decides the issue being appealed as authorized by the applicable statute, rule or regulation.

Prepares interrogatories for use by hearing officers in other states to examine out of state witnesses; reciprocally, takes testimony for use by other states.

Studies current decisions of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board and various courts to determine trends and developments in the unemployment insurance field.

On occasion, assists in the review of decisions of new Referees.


Unemployment Insurance Referees have constant face to face communication with a number of different persons when conducting hearings. These include claimants, employers, witnesses, attorneys, union representatives, unemployment insurance specialists representing employers, Legal Aid Society, Poverty Agency Lawyers’ groups and Accountants. The Referee must communicate well in explaining issues and eliciting facts by simple and clear questioning. The Referee must conduct the proceedings impartially and fairly, often in tense situations. Parties may become vituperative, insulting and argumentative, requiring self control and emotional stability on the part of the Referee.

Relationships within the organization are maintained with other staff members in order to exchange information on procedures, policies and new or unusual precedent setting cases. These relationships generally involve verbal communications; however, if a case is of particular interest a written report may be submitted.


Unemployment Insurance Referees are non-supervisory positions.

Although the Referee may consult with a Senior Referee concerning policy or novel issues, decisions are rendered independently. Senior Referees periodically review sample decisions for form or content. The Unemployment Insurance Referee carries out decisions within the framework of specific laws, regulations, procedures and precedents.



Completion of the two-year Unemployment Insurance Referee Traineeship. NOTE: Membership in the Bar and two years of experience in the practice of law are required to be admitted to the Traineeship.


 Reviewed: 8/02



NOTE: Classification Standards illustrate the nature, extent and scope of duties and responsibilities of the classes they describe. Standards cannot and do not include all of the work that might be appropriately performed by a class. The minimum qualifications above are those which were required for appointment at the time the Classification Standard was written. Please contact the Division of Staffing Services for current information on minimum qualification requirements for appointment or examination.