Tentative Classification Standards issued by the Division of Classification & Compensation are shared with the operating agencies of State government for their consideration and comment. Accordingly, this document that you are viewing is subject to change and will be issued in final form at the completion of the review period.


Occ. Code 6547200

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREE, GRADE 25                                 6547200


PRINCIPAL UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREE, M-3                         6547400

CHIEF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREE, M-5                                 6547800

New York State Department of Civil Service

Classification Standard


Unemployment Insurance Referees conduct hearings and render decisions in accordance with New York State Unemployment Insurance (UI) 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 title series are located in the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board at the Department of Labor.


            UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREE: full performance level; independently conducts hearings, evaluates factual information, and determines claimants or registrants eligibility or employers liability.

          SENIOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREE: first supervisory level; supervises and coordinates the activities of Unemployment Insurance Referees; conducts the more difficult and precedent setting hearings.

          PRINCIPAL UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREE: non-competitive; second supervisory level; oversees Senior Unemployment Insurance Referees.

          CHIEF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREE: non-competitive; functions under the Chairperson of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board; directs the operations of the Appeals Sections and the Hearing Sections of the UI Appeals Board throughout the state.


Hearing Officers preside at quasi-judicial or administrative hearings of an adversarial or investigative nature concerning the resolution of issues of fact, law and/or regulatory practice; make findings of fact and conclusions of law; and render or recommend decisions. These positions are classified in various State agencies.


            UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREES: issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and to produce necessary books, documents, and papers; take depositions from witnesses not available for testimony at hearings; hold conferences with parties to the appeal for the simplification of issues or to obtain mutually agreed upon stipulations; conduct hearings on such subjects as eligibility for benefits, refusal of suitable employment, availability for and capability of employment, voluntary leave 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; identify the parties involved and explain the pertinent issues and rights of each party; administer oaths and affirmations; rule on objections by attorneys, parties or their representatives; elicit facts by interrogation of witnesses; rule on the admissibility of evidence and testimony; dispose of procedural requests and motions, including adjustments; decide the issue being appealed as authorized by the applicable statute, rule or regulation; consider and evaluate testimony and evidence, taking official notice of well-established facts; search precedent decisions, court cases, legal interpretations, and citations which are pertinent to the issue; ensure a complete record of proceedings including material presented as exhibits; prepare and issue final decisions; prepare interrogatories for use by hearing officers in other states to examine out of state witnesses; take testimonies for use by other states; study current decisions of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board and various courts to determine trends and developments in the unemployment insurance field; and assist in the review of decisions of new Referees.

            SENIOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREES: supervise and coordinate activities of Unemployment Insurance Referees; assign cases based on issues involved or special skill or knowledge required; sever or consolidate cases prior to scheduling, where the interests of justice will be served; decide on challenges as to the interest of a Referee; designate Referees to act upon application to reopen cases; ensure adherence to hearing schedules; attend hearings periodically to observe and evaluate Referees performance; inform Referees of precedent setting decisions and changes in policy by distributing information; periodically review decisions rendered by subordinates; determine issues are properly disposed of in accordance with law and precedent; conduct hearings in complex or policymaking cases and render decisions; perform quality assurance tasks to ensure that the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board (UIAB) adhere to qualitative standards set by the U.S. Department of Labor and UIAB; advise management of legal or procedural issues that may impact UIAB operations; participate in Referee training programs; develop and administer training programs that ensure procedural fairness, efficiency and legal accuracy; review minutes of hearings to obtain subject matter for training in adjudicative processes; and review case folders to determine progress and evaluate performance.

          PRINCIPAL UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREES: conduct and supervise the training and instruction of Unemployment Insurance Referees; assign selected cases and readings to Unemployment Insurance Referees and Senior Unemployment Insurance Referees to keep them informed of new interpretations of both UI Law and Case Law; provide updates on precedent setting cases in other jurisdictions which impact the Department of Labor; perform legal research for Board members in cases involving novel or unusually complex questions of law; maintain and improve a case law digest of appeal board and court cases; assist in the coordination or preparation of legal opinions to ensure conformity with established precedents and rulings; develop and issue special reports on statistics of Appeals Section; assist the Chief Unemployment Insurance Referee in the supervision of daily operations of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board; act as a consultant to Referees and Senior Referees on difficult matters of adjudication; recommend improvements in Boards processes and procedures; oversee handling of specific pending cases; conduct conferences with parties to clarify legal issues; conduct or manage special investigations requested by the Board; arrange for oral arguments, augmentation of the record/submission of briefs such as amicus briefs from outside parties affected by the decision; assist in the review of cases appealed by the Appellate Division prior to transmittal to the Attorney General; complete final review of Referee decision for form and content; review all drafts of proposed decisions prepared by Unemployment Insurance Referees before submission to Board members; and assist in the implementation of changed policies and procedures to ensure compliance with court decisions and mandates.

          CHIEF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFEREE: supervises, plans and directs UI Referees throughout the State and establishes standards for the decisions rendered; reviews cases to ensure compliance with UI law, court decisions and board decisions; establishes standards for the writing and review of quasi-judicial decisions; coordinates the recruitment, selection, training, and evaluation of UI Referees; conducts conferences, seminars, and institutes on procedural and substantive matters; prepares and issues manuals of procedures, training material, bulletins, and general informational material in unemployment insurance, social security, and administrative law; conducts hearings when required in policy making cases and renders decisions; participates in the review and analysis of new or proposed legislative initiatives related to the administration of the Unemployment Insurance program; provides Board members pertinent legal decisions and background material; analyzes operating and statistical reports of the Hearings and Appeals Sections to evaluate and enhance productivity; studies UI case law, relevant legal precedents, trends and significant changes in legislation; and represents the State of New York with unemployment insurance agencies and the tribunals of other States in matters of general interest in the field of unemployment insurance, and in Federal and interstate conferences affecting adjudication of unemployment insurance disputes.



Open-competitive: Admission to the New York State Bar and two years of experience in the practice of law, and completion of two-year traineeship.


Promotion: one year as an Unemployment Insurance Referee.


Non-competitive: Admission to the New York State bar and either: five years of experience in the general practice of law, of which two years must have been in the trial of issues in courts of record; or five years of experience in the general practice of law, two of which must have been in the conduct or preparation and trial of adversary proceedings before or within a public tribunal; or an equivalent combination of the foregoing experience and training.


Non-competitive: Admission to the New York State bar and two years of experience supervising legal staff and either: four years of experience in the general practice of law of which two years must have been in the trial of issues in courts of record; or four years of experience in the trial of issues before a quasi-judicial agency or in the analysis and review of trial records in the capacity of legal assistant to a hearing officer; or a satisfactory combination of the foregoing experience and training.

Date:  6/17

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 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.