On November 8, 2021, Governor Hochul signed a bill ( A.430/S.2628 ) that requires employers to let their employees know if the employer plans to monitor their phone calls, emails, or internet use. This bill covers “any individual, corporation, partnership, firm, or association with a place of business in [New York]” but does not cover “[New York] State or any political subdivision of the State.”
Employers have to let new employees know before they’re hired and have to let all of their employees know once a year. Employers must give written notice of their monitoring policy to their employees as well as post the notice somewhere easy to see.
According to the “2007 Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey” from American Management Association (AMA) and The ePolicy Institute, more than one fourth of employers have fired workers for misusing e-mail and nearly one third have fired employees for misusing the internet. Violation of company policy and excessive personal use were the two main reasons employees were fired. By making sure that employees know they’re being monitored, the bill aims to protect employee privacy, prevent lawsuits, protect companies, and protect jobs.
The NY Attorney General can fine employers who break this law up to $500 for a first offense, $1000 for a second offense, and $3000 for any additional offenses.
New York now joins Delaware and Connecticut as the only states that currently require employers to let employees know that they are being monitored. The bill will take effect 180 days after signing in early May 2022.