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New York Forbids Employers from Requiring Employees & Applicants’ Social Media Information

08 Nov

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Update Applicable to:

All New York employers and multi-state businesses with employees performing work in the state of New York.

What happened?

Governor Hochul signed a bill (S2518/A836) amending the New York Labor Law to prohibit employers from requesting or requiring employees and job applicants to disclose their social media account information.

The new law also prevents employers from coercing individuals to access their personal social media accounts in the employer’s presence or reproduce content from their accounts using prohibited means.

This law will go into effect on March 12, 2024.

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the resources above to have time to update and adjust their policies relating to device and information, update application materials, and train personnel on permissible inquiries during disciplinary investigations.

What are the details?

New York Assembly Bill A836, also known as 2023-A836, aims to protect the privacy of employees and job applicants. This prohibition applies to personal social media accounts used exclusively for personal purposes, encompassing a wide range of user-generated content, as a condition of hiring, employment or use in disciplinary action. The key provisions are:

  1. Prohibits Employer Requests: prohibits employers from requesting/requiring employees or job applicants to disclose their username, password, or authentication information for personal social media or email accounts.
  2. Protecting Online Privacy: designed to safeguard the online privacy of individuals in the workplace, ensuring that their personal online activities and communications are not subject to unnecessary intrusion by employers in their presence and reproduce content from personal social media accounts.

This legislation is part of ongoing efforts to balance the interests of employers with the privacy rights of employees in the digital age, prohibiting employers to discharge, discipline or otherwise penalize, or threaten to discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalize, employees who refuse to disclose access information to their personal accounts.

However, there are some exceptions in this legislation, and they can be reviewed via the bill link below.

Employees or applicants voluntarily adding employers or their agents to their personal social media contacts is not considered access under the law.

For more information, please see the links below:

Law Firm Articles: Article 1, Article 2,  Article 3, Article 4, Article 5, Article 6

Bill A836/S2518

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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