Electronic Monitoring of Employees in New York

In November, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law amending the State’s Civil Rights Law to require employers with a place of business in the State to provide employees with prior notice before monitoring employee email, Internet, or telephone usage. This new requirement takes effect on May 7, 2022 and here are some key elements of the amendment:


-The new amendment applies to all employers with a place of business in New York, except for New York State or any political subdivision.


-The requirements apply to a covered employer who monitors or intercepts:

  • telephone conversations or transmissions;

  • electronic mail or transmissions; or

  • Internet access or usage

of or by an employee by an electronic device or system, including but not limited to, the use of a computer, telephone, wire, radio, or electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optical systems.


-A covered employer who monitors or intercepts such transmissions or usage is required to provide prior written notice upon hiring to all employees subject to the electronic monitoring. The notice must advise employees that all such transmissions and usage “may be subject to monitoring at any and all times and by any lawful means.”


-The notice must be acknowledged by the employee either in writing or electronically.


-A covered employer also must post the notice of electronic monitoring in a “conspicuous place” for viewing by all employees subject to the electronic monitoring.


-The New York Attorney General’s office will enforce this new law, and an employer who violates the new requirements will be subject 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 additional offense.


-There is an exception section provided under the law: The law shall not apply to “processes that are designed to manage the type or volume of incoming or outgoing electronic mail or telephone voice mail or internet usage, that are not targeted to monitor or intercept the electronic mail or telephone voice mail or internet usage of a particular individual, and that are performed solely for the purpose of computer system maintenance and/or protection.”


The new law will enhance transparency within an organization and will allow employees to make informed decisions about their electronic usage while utilizing work systems. In order to comply with the new legal requirements, covered employers should start now to modify existing policies and employee handbook provisions.


Our Firm has extensive experience counseling health care providers on labor and employment compliance requirements, as well as preparing and implementing applicable policies. If you have any questions related to this Legal Briefing, please contact any member of our Firm at 585-730-4773. Please note that any embedded links to other documents may expire in the future.

 
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This Legal Briefing is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or counsel. The substance of this Legal Briefing is not intended to cover all legal issues or developments regarding the matter. Please consult with an attorney to ascertain how these new developments may relate to you or your business. © 2022 Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow PLLC