Hochul signs legislation regarding electronic monitoring of employees

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation last week that will require all private employers to notify employees if they are monitoring company phones, email and internet activity. The amendment to civil rights law will become effective in May 2022.

Under the new law, employers monitoring or otherwise intercepting communications or transmissions by employees must provide all new hires with written notice of monitoring. Electronic notifications and acknowledgements will satisfy the requirement for written notification and acknowledgements. The written notice must advise employees that:

“any and all telephone conversations 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.”

Though the law does not specifically address notice requirements for current employees, it does mandate that employers post a notice in a “conspicuous place which is readily available for viewing by its employees who are subject to electronic monitoring.”

Monitoring processes that are solely designed to manage the type or volume of communications or internet usage and do not target an individual, but rather are performed solely for system maintenance and/or protection are exempted from the law.

The attorney general may enforce a maximum civil penalty of $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second offense and $3,000 for the third and each subsequent offense. The law does not address an employee’s private right to action.

Credit unions with questions about the new legislation can be directed to Chris Pajak, the New York Credit Union Association’s VP of member engagement, at 1 (800) 342-9835 ext. 8188 or via email at christopher.pajak@nycua.org.

Leave a Reply