Thousands of New Yorkers will start new jobs in 2022. This can mean new expectations and workplace rights of which employees should be aware. For example, a new law requires private employers to provide its employees with notice of electronic monitoring.
If you start a new job this year, you should know what these notices entail.
What is electronic monitoring?
The new law, which goes into effect on May 7, 2022, requires private employers to notify employees if they monitor or plan to monitor conversations or transmissions electronically.
Employers may lawfully monitor employee communications, including:
- Telephone calls
- Internet use and access
New York private employers who already monitor or intercept these exchanges or plan to do so must inform employees starting in May.
Prior written notice
The notice to employees must be in writing and provided upon hiring. It can be in an electronic or physical format, and employees must acknowledge it.
Employers must also post notice of electronic monitoring in a conspicuous place accessible to all employees subject to monitoring.
Why is this law important?
The new law addresses the complexity and contention that can arise when employees are punished or terminated because of phone, internet, or email exchanges. Often, this conflict arises because employers were not transparent about their policies.
When employees are unaware of surveillance practices, they can have grounds for privacy violation claims. Notifying employees that employers can intercept and observe activities empowers them to make informed decisions about their exchanges and internet use.
Using this information as an employee
As an employee, you have the right to know if your employer is monitoring your phone calls, emails, or internet usage. If your employer does not notify you or if you feel the policy is unfair, you can discuss your concerns with an attorney.
Your rights as an employee are vital. And they are worth understanding and protecting for the sake of your livelihood, privacy and reputation.