Starting on May 7, 2022, employers in New York must give written notice to employees, and obtain an acknowledgment of the notice, of any electronic monitoring of telephone, email, internet, or computer usage. This requirement was enacted as part of an amendment to New York’s Civil Rights Law and applies to all employers with places of business in New York.

Specifically, the law requires New York employers to provide written notice to, and obtain acknowledgments from, new employees, upon hire, if the employer will monitor the electronic communications or usage of its employees. Because most employers should reserve the right to monitor employee activity on company IT resources to protect the business and avoid employee invasion of privacy claims, this law will apply to most employers.

Employers do not have to obtain acknowledgments from existing employees, but must post a notice in a “conspicuous place.” The law does not define the term “conspicuous place” or state whether the notice must be a stand alone document, so to be prudent, employers should include the notice in their employee handbook and post it with other required employee rights notices.

The notice must advise employees that “any and all telephone conversations 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 by any lawful means.”

The law does not provide for a private right of action, but is enforced by the New York State Attorney General. Violations of the law are subject to fines of up to $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for a second offense, and $3,000 for each subsequent offense.

Employers that have not already done so, should consult with employment counsel to ensure that they have appropriate policies and notices prepared to comply with this new law.

If you have questions about New York’s employee electronic notice requirement or your business’s other employment practices, please contact us at (201) 345-5412 / (646) 503-5358 or through our online scheduling system to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or opinion. You should consult with an attorney regarding the specifics of your matter or legal issue.