On Nov. 8, 2021, Gov. Hochul signed into law an amendment to the New York Civil Rights Law that requires any private individual or entity with a place of business in the state to provide notice to employees of certain electronic monitoring upon upon hiring, with written or electronic employee acknowledgement, and in a “conspicuous place” viewable by all employees of certain types of electronic monitoring. The new law went into effect on May 7, 2022.
Specifically, any and all telephone conversation or transmissions, electronic mail or transmissions, or internet access or usage by an employee by any electronic device or 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.
Penalties for violation of the law range from $500 to $3,000 per violation, with a maximum of $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second offense and $3,000 for any subsequent offenses.
Employers should prepare an acknowledgment of electronic monitoring for new employees and amend their employee handbook to include a notice of electronic monitoring. Prepare a notice to conspicuously post in a public area in the workplace to satisfy the law’s posting requirement. Although the law does not specifically require notification of electronic monitoring to be placed in employers’ employee handbooks, such a reference is useful to notify employees that electronic monitoring is occurring and may provide a defense to the employer that employees had adequate notice about monitoring.