New York Requires Employers to Notify Employees of Electronic Monitoring

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Patricia Tsipras

May 5, 2022

Effective May 7, 2022, New York amends its Civil Rights Law to require private employers with a place of business in the State to notify employees upon hire and via a conspicuously-placed poster of any practice of monitoring or otherwise intercepting employees’ telephone conversations, emails, or internet usage.

Content of the Notice
Employees shall be advised that “any and all telephone conversations or transmissions, electronic mail or transmissions, or internet access or usage by an employee by any electronic device system, including but not limited to the use of a computer, telephone, wire, radio or electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optical systems may be subject to monitoring at any and all times and by any lawful means.”  See NY Civil Rights Law at § 52-c(2)(B).

The Law Excludes Some Employer Monitoring
The law does not apply to non-employee-specific monitoring.  It excludes processes that are designed to manage the type or volume of incoming or outgoing email or telephone voice mail or internet usage; that are not targeted at a particular individual; AND that are performed solely for the purpose of computer system maintenance or protection.  See id. at § 52-c(4).

Penalties for Noncompliance
New York’s Attorney General may enforce the law and subject any non-compliant employer to a maximum civil penalty of $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second offense, and $3,000 for the third and each subsequent offense.  See id. at § 52-c(3).

Employer Take-Aways
With proper notice, private employers in New York may monitor employees to ensure compliance with company policies and expectations, regulatory and compliance standards, and the law.

 

 

*Special thanks to Claire Miller, our intern from the University of Notre Dame, for her contributions to this article.

 
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