Keypoint: As of May 7, 2022, New York employers that monitor or intercept employee emails, internet usage, or telephone communications must provide written notice to those employees.

On May 7, 2022, an amendment to the New York Civil Rights Act goes into effect that requires private employers with places of business anywhere in the state to provide employees a written notice if the employer monitors or intercepts employee emails, internet access or usage, or telephone conversations. The written notice must communicate 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 . . . may be subject to monitoring at any and all times by any lawful means.”

Notice is not required for processes that are designed to manage the type or volume of incoming/outgoing e-mail, voicemail, or internet usage; that are not targeted to monitor or intercept the e-mail, voicemail, or internet usage of a particular individual; or that are performed solely for computer system maintenance and/or protection.

To comply with the law’s notice requirement, covered employers must maintain the written notice in an electronic form and post the notice in a conspicuous place where it is readily available for viewing by affected employees. Covered employers must also obtain acknowledgment (either electronically or hard copy) of the written notice from new employees upon hiring, but the law does not explicitly state that employers need to obtain acknowledgments from those already employed before the law’s effective date.

The law does not expressly grant employees a private right of action against covered employers who fail to comply with the notice requirement. However, the New York State Office of the Attorney General has authority to enforce the law. Employers who violate this law will be subject to a progressive fine schedule of $500 for the first offense; $1,000 for the second offense; and $3,000 for each offense thereafter. The New York law mirrors similar electronic monitoring laws that are already in effect in Delaware and Connecticut.