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Effective on May 7, 2022, New York employers must begin providing notice to new employees when they “monitor or otherwise intercept” an employee’s telephone conversations, emails, internet access, or internet usage. While this law does not prohibit the monitoring of employee communications or other device-related monitoring, it does require advanced notice combined with acknowledgments from new hires to your company. The same new rules also apply to existing employees.
Exceptions to this law exclude monitoring processes that are: (1) designed to manage the type or volume of incoming or outgoing email, voicemail, or internet usage, (2) not targeted to monitor or intercept the email, voicemail or internet usage, or (3) performed solely for the purposes of computer system maintenance.
Beginning in May 2022, employers must give written or electronic notice upon hiring to all employees who are subject to the monitoring. This notice must be acknowledged by the employee in writing or electronically. It is not required to give notice to current employees, but good practice would be to include language advising of the policy in an employee handbook. Employers must post the notice of electronic monitoring in a conspicuous place, where the notice is readily available for viewing.
These changes represent a departure from long-standing practices in this area which generally give employers wide latitude to employers to monitor their employees’ usage of company IT systems with minimal notice. This law is not intended to disallow the monitoring, but rather to provide advanced notice to employees. Employers are well-advised to update their policies and employee handbooks, provide the required notices and collect employee acknowledgments.