In a win for workers, employers in New York State are no longer allowed to ask for certain private information. Governor Kathy Hochul signed Bill A00836 into law. The bill was sponsored by New York State Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz of the Bronx.

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash
Photo by dole777 on Unsplash
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Governor Hochul Signs Law Stopping Employers From Requesting Social Media Access

The new law helps protect employees and potential employees' privacy. The new law,

Prohibits an employer from requesting or requiring that an employee or applicant for employment disclose any user name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account or service through specified electronic communications devices.

The law covers any electronic medium where employees or applicants "may create, share, and view user-generated content." The list includes places where they may post videos, pictures, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant messages or internet website profiles, if they are using the media solely for personal purposes. The law does not protect employees who use an account tied to their employer,

An employer may require an employee to disclose any user name, password or other means for accessing nonpersonal accounts that provide access to the employer's internal computer or information systems.

 

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash
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With the new law, an employer is banned from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise penalizing or threatening to do any of the aforementioned, if an employee refuses to provide access to their social media.

While the new law does offer workers privacy protection, employers can still legally find electronic information about applicants or employees,

This section does not prohibit or restrict an employer from viewing, accessing, or utilizing information about an employee or applicant that can be obtained without any required access information, that is available in the public domain, or for the purposes of obtaining reports of misconduct or investigating misconduct, photographs, video, messages, or other information that is voluntarily shared by an employee, client, or other third party that the employee subject to such report or investigation has voluntarily given access to contained within such employee's personal account.

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