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Title 8 Hearings and Appeals

Section 620
Referees' hearings
Section 621
Appeals to Appeal Board
Section 622
Rules governing hearings and appeals
Section 623
Decisions final
Section 624
Appeals to court
Section 625
Undertaking on appeal
Section 626
Exclusive procedure

Sec. 620. Referees` hearings.

1. Disputed claims for benefits. (a) A claimant who is dissatisfied with an initial determination of his claim for benefits or any other party, including any employer whose employer account percentage might be affected by such determination, may, within thirty days after the mailing or personal delivery of notice of such determination, request a hearing. The referee may extend the time fixed for requesting a hearing, upon evidence that the physical condition or mental incapacity of the claimant prevented the claimant from filing an appeal within thirty days of the initial determination.  Any employer whose employer account percentage might be affected by such determination, irresepctive of whether or not such employer was a party to a hearing brought hereunder, shall have free access to all records of any hearing brought hereunder by any party relating to such determination.

Paragraph (a) as amended by L. 1959, Ch. 224,  L. 1975, Ch. 82 effective October 1, 1975
and further amended by L. 1998, Ch. 589, effective April 1, 1999.

(b) When the initial determination of a claim for benefits, upon which a hearing has been requested, involves the question whether any person is or was an employer within the meaning of this article and is or was liable for the payment of contributions under this article, or the question whether an employer has fully complied with the obligations imposed by this article, written notice of the hearing shall be given to such persons or employer, either personally or by mail, and thereupon he shall be deemed a party to the proceeding, entitled to be heard. Upon such notice having been given, the referee may then decide such question or questions and any other issue related thereto, and his decision shall not be deemed limited in its effect to the immediate claimant making the claim for benefits but shall be deemed a general determination of such questions with respect to all those employed by such person or employer for all the purposes of this article, and such decision shall be conclusive and binding upon him, subject, however, to the right to appeal hereinafter provided.

Paragraph (c) repealed by L. 1960, Ch. 787 effective April 25, 1960.

2. Contested determinations, rules, or orders. Any employer who claims to be aggrieved by the commissioner`s determination of the amount of its contributions or by any other rule or order of the commissioner under any provision of this article may apply to the commissioner for a hearing within thirty days after mailing or personal delivery of notice of such determination, rule, or order.

Subd. 2 as amended by L. 1991, Ch. 248, effective July 1, 1991.

3. Decisions. Every hearing as herein provided for shall be held by a referee who shall render his decision within five days after the hearing is concluded. Written notice of the referee`s decision, containing the reasons therefor, shall be promptly given to the claimant or employer, to the commissioner, and to any party affected thereby who appeared at the hearing.

The decision of a referee shall be deemed the decision of the appeal board from the date of the filing thereof in the department, unless an appeal is taken from such decision to the board in accordance with the provisions of this article or unless the board on its own motion or on application duly made to it modify or rescind such decision.

4. Whenever any deaf person is a party to a hearing conducted before a referee, or a witness thereon, the referee shall in all instances, appoint a qualified interpreter who is certified by a recognized national or New York state credentialing authority to interpret the proceedings to and the testimony of such deaf person. The commissioner shall determine a reasonable fee for all such interpreting services, the cost of which shall constitute expenses under this article.

Subd. 4 as added by L. 1981, Ch. 430 effective September 5, 1981.

Sec. 621. Appeals to appeal board.

1. Disputed claims for benefits. Within twenty days after the mailing or personal delivery of notice of the decision of a referee on contested benefit claims, the claimant and the employer, provided he appeared at the hearing, may appeal to the appeal board by filing a notice of appeal in the local state employment office in accordance with such rules as the appeal board shall prescribe. Within the same period of time and in the same manner, the commissioner may also appeal to the appeal board, regardless of whether or not he appeared or was represented at the hearing before the referee.

Subd. 1 as amended by L. 1960, Ch. 787 effective April 25, 1960.

2. Contested determinations, rules, or orders. Within twenty days after the mailing or personal delivery of notice of the decision after a hearing on contested determinations, rules or orders by the commissioner, the employer may take an appeal to the appeal board, provided he appeared at the hearing, by filing a notice of appeal with the commissioner, and the commissioner may likewise within such period take an appeal to the board by giving written notice thereof to the employer, regardless of whether or not the commissioner appeared or was represented at the hearing before the referee.

3. Conduct of appeals. The appeal board may decide any case appealed to it under any provision of this article on the basis of the record and of evidence previously submitted in such case, or it may in its discretion hear argument or hold a further hearing, or remand such case to a referee for such purposes as it may direct. If a further hearing is to be held or argument had, the board shall fix a time therefor and shall notify the commissioner, regardless of whether or not he had appeared or been represented at the hearing before the referee, and any other party affected, provided such other party appeared at the hearing before the referee. The board may affirm or reverse, wholly or in part, or may modify the decision appealed from and shall render its decision promptly and shall thereupon send written notice thereof together with the reasons therefor to the commissioner and any other party affected thereby who appeared at the hearing before the referee.

§621 as amended by L. 1951, Ch. 645 effective June 4, 1951.

Sec. 622. Rules governing hearings and appeals.

1. Rules and regulations. The manner in which disputes and appeals shall be presented before referees and the appeal board, respectively, and the conduct of hearings before referees and the board shall be governed by suitable rules and regulations established by the board.

2. Evidence and procedure. At any hearing held as herein provided, evidence may be offered to support a determination, rule, or order or to prove that it is incorrect. The appeal board and the referees, in hearings and appeals under any provision of this article, shall not be bound by common law or statutory rules of evidence or by technical or formal rules of procedure but may conduct the hearings and appeals in such manner as to ascertain the substantial rights of the parties. Hearings governed by this article may be closed and hearing transcripts may be redacted in accordance with applicable federal or state statutory and regulatory requirements governing information confidentiality and personal privacy, including, but not limited to, article six and article six-a of the public officers law.

Sec. 623. Decisions final.

1. A decision of a referee, if not appealed from, shall be final on all questions of fact and law. A decision of the appeal board shall be final on all questions of fact and, unless appealed from, shall be final on all questions of law.

2. No finding of fact or law contained in a decision rendered pursuant to this article by a referee, the appeal board or a court shall preclude the litigation of any issue of fact or law in any subsequent action or proceeding; provided, however, that this subdivision shall not apply to causes of action which (i) arise under this article, (ii) seek to collect or challenge liability for unemployment insurance contributions, (iii) seek to recover overpayments of unemployment insurance benefits, or (iv) allege that a claimant or employer was denied constitutional rights in connection with the administrative processing, hearing, determination or decision of a claim for benefits or assessment of liability for unemployment insurance contributions.

Subd. 2 as added by L. 1987, Ch. 258, effective July 7, 1987

Sec. 624. Appeals to courts.

Within thirty days after the mailing or personal delivery of notice of a decision by the appeal board, the commissioner or any other party affected thereby who appeared at the appeal before the board may appeal questions of law involved in such decision to the appellate division of the supreme court, third department. The board may also, in its discretion, certify to such court questions of law involved in its decisions. Such appeals and the questions so certified shall be heard in a summary manner and shall have precedence over all other civil cases in such court except cases arising under the workmen`s compensation law. The commissioner shall be represented in court by the attorney general without additional compensation. An appeal may be taken from the decision of such court to the court of appeals in the same manner and subject to the same limitations, not inconsistent herewith, as is provided for in civil action. It shall not be necessary to file exception to the rulings of the appeal board. No bond shall be required to be filed upon an appeal to the appellate division or to the court of appeals, except as hereinafter provided. Upon final determination of an appeal, the appeal board shall enter an order in accordance with such determination.

Sec. 625. Undertaking on appeal.

No appeal shall be taken by an employer from a decision of the appeal board determining a sum to be due from such employer unless the amount involved, with interest and penalties thereon, if any, shall be first deposited with the commissioner and an undertaking filed with the commissioner, in such amount and with such sureties as a justice of the supreme court shall approve, to the effect that the employer will pay all costs and charges which may be adjudged against him in the prosecution of such appeal. At the option of the employer, such undertaking may be in a sum sufficient to cover the said amount, interest, penalties, costs, and charges as aforesaid, in which event the employer shall not be required to deposit such amount, with the interest and penalties, as a condition precedent to the taking of an appeal.

Sec. 626. Exclusive procedure.

The procedure herein provided for hearings before referees with respect to any determination, rule, or order of the commissioner and for decisions thereon and for appeals therefrom, first to the appeal board and thereafter to the courts, shall be the sole and exclusive procedure notwithstanding any other provision of law.

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