Beginning March 12, 2024, employers in the State of New York are prohibited from requiring employees or job applicants to disclose their login credentials for personal social media accounts.
Signed on September 14, 2023 by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, the new law "prohibits employers from requesting or requiring username, login information, and passwords, of personal accounts as a condition of hiring, as a condition of employment, or for use in a disciplinary action."
This includes any other authentication information; demanding the employee or applicant access their personal account in the presence of the employer; reproducing in any manner photographs, video, or other information contained in the personal account; or retaliating against employees or applicants for refusing to do so.
Notably, the new law applies only to personal social media accounts. Employers can still require employees and applicants with access to company-sponsored accounts to disclose their login credentials, provided that prior notice is given.
Also note that employers can still access employees' electronic communication devices (laptops, tablets, cell phones, etc.) that the employers supply and/or pay for, in whole or in part, on the condition that this has been explicitly agreed to and that the employee is provided with prior notice. Nonetheless, employers are prohibited from requesting access to personal accounts.
Employers can also legally access information about employees and applicants that is publicly accessible, like open social media accounts, or otherwise in the public domain.
In anticipation of the new law taking effect in March, we encourage employers to reexamine their company's social media policies and procedures and make any necessary changes.
For any questions or assistance, contact us.