Bill S6938-2011

Protects the privacy of employees' and prospective employees' social media accounts

Protects the privacy of employees' and prospective employees' social media accounts.

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  • Apr 13, 2012: REFERRED TO LABOR

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6938

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the labor law, in relation to protecting the privacy of employees' and prospective employees' social media accounts

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

To prohibit employers or their agents from invading the privacy of their employees or prospective employees by requiring them to disclose passwords, user names, or other information connected to social media and other personal accounts.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

§ 1, subdivision 1 amends the labor law by adding a new section, 215-d:

Invasion of Privacy By an Employer Against an Employee or Prospective Employee. This section defines an applicant as an applicant for employment; defines electronic communications device as any device which uses electronic signals to create, transmit, and receive information; and includes, but is not limited to, computers, telephones, personal digital assistants, and other similar devices.

Subdivision 2 prohibits an employer or their agents from requiring an employee or job applicant to disclose any log-in name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account or service through an electronic communications device; allows an employer or their agent to require an employee to disclose any log-in name, password, or other means for accessing nonpersonal accounts or services that provide access to the employer's internal computer or information systems.

Subdivision 3 prohibits an employer or their agents from terminating, disciplining, or otherwise penalizing an employee or threatening to terminate, discipline, or otherwise penalize an employee for the employee's refusal to disclose any information specified in subdivision 2 of this section; prohibits an employer or their agents from refusing to hire an applicant on the basis that the applicant refused to disclose any information specified in subdivision 2 of this section.

Subdivision 4 imposes penalties in the amount of $300 for the first violation and $500 for subsequent violations upon an employer or agent who violates any provision of this section; allows an aggrieved individual to bring forth a civil action

§2 is the effective date

JUSTIFICATION:

As social media sites like Facebook and Twitter become more popular, many employers have sought to gain access to their employee's social

media accounts by requiring that the employees provide their personal account passwords. Additionally, employers have also required prospective employees to disclose such information This is a gross invasion of privacy, but in an extremely tough job market, many employees are afraid to refuse such a demand because they cannot afford to lose their jobs. Likewise, many job applicants fear that by not providing their social media account password or log-in information, they will stop being considered for the job.

Employees and job applicants should not have to cede their right to privacy as a precondition for employment. This legislation will prevent employers from depriving their employees this right to privacy by making it illegal for them to demand an employee's or applicant's password for social media or other personal accounts.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

Increased revenue through penalties.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

Immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6938 IN SENATE April 13, 2012 ___________
Introduced by Sen. KRUEGER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Labor AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to protecting the privacy of employees' and prospective employees' social media accounts THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The labor law is amended by adding a new section 215-d to read as follows: S 215-D. INVASION OF PRIVACY BY AN EMPLOYER AGAINST AN EMPLOYEE OR PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEE. 1. DEFINITIONS. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION: (A) "APPLICANT" MEANS AN APPLICANT FOR EMPLOYMENT; (B) "ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE" MEANS ANY DEVICE THAT USES ELECTRONIC SIGNALS TO CREATE, TRANSMIT, AND RECEIVE INFORMATION; AND (C) "ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE" INCLUDES, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, COMPUTERS, TELEPHONES, PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANTS, AND OTHER SIMI- LAR DEVICES. 2. (A) AN EMPLOYER OR EMPLOYER'S AGENT, REPRESENTATIVE, OR DESIGNEE SHALL NOT REQUIRE ANY EMPLOYEE OR APPLICANT TO DISCLOSE ANY LOG-IN NAME, PASSWORD, OR OTHER MEANS FOR ACCESSING A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OR SERVICE THROUGH AN ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE. (B) AN EMPLOYER OR EMPLOYER'S AGENT, REPRESENTATIVE, OR DESIGNEE MAY REQUIRE AN EMPLOYEE TO DISCLOSE ANY LOG-IN NAME, PASSWORD, OR OTHER MEANS FOR ACCESSING NON-PERSONAL ACCOUNTS OR SERVICES THAT PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE EMPLOYER'S INTERNAL COMPUTER OR INFORMATION SYSTEMS. 3. AN EMPLOYER, EMPLOYER'S AGENT, REPRESENTATIVE, OR DESIGNEE SHALL NOT: (A) TERMINATE, DISCIPLINE, OR OTHERWISE PENALIZE AN EMPLOYEE OR THREATEN TO TERMINATE, DISCIPLINE, OR OTHERWISE PENALIZE AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE EMPLOYEE'S REFUSAL TO DISCLOSE ANY INFORMATION SPECIFIED IN SUBDIVI- SION TWO OF THIS SECTION; OR (B) FAIL OR REFUSE TO HIRE ANY APPLICANT AS A RESULT OF THE APPLI- CANT'S REFUSAL TO PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION.
4. (A) WHERE A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION IS ALLEGED TO HAVE OCCURRED, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MAY APPLY IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FOR AN ORDER ENJOINING OR RESTRAINING THE COMMISSION OR CONTIN- UANCE OF THE ALLEGED UNLAWFUL ACTS. IN ANY SUCH PROCEEDING, THE COURT MAY IMPOSE A CIVIL PENALTY IN THE AMOUNT OF THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR THE FIRST VIOLATION AND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR EACH SUBSEQUENT VIOLATION. (B) IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER PENALTIES OR ACTIONS OTHERWISE APPLICABLE PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER, WHERE A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION IS ALLEGED TO HAVE OCCURRED, AN AGGRIEVED INDIVIDUAL MAY COMMENCE AN ACTION FOR EQUITABLE RELIEF AND DAMAGES. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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