N.Y. Labor Law Section 201-I
Request for access to personal accounts prohibited


1.

For purposes of this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

(a)

“Applicant” means an applicant for employment.

(b)

“Electronic communications device” means any device that uses electronic signals to create, transmit, and receive information, including, but not limited to computers, telephones, personal digital assistants and other similar devices.

(c)

“Employer” means (i) a person or entity engaged in a business, industry, profession, trade or other enterprise in the state;

(ii)

the state of New York;

(iii)

a county, city, town, village or any other political subdivision or civil division of the state;

(iv)

a school district or any government entity operating a public school, college, or university;

(v)

a public improvement or special district;

(vi)

a public authority, commission or public benefit corporation; or

(vii)

any other public corporation, agency, instrumentality or unit of government which exercises governmental power under the laws of the state; and

(viii)

shall include an agent, representative or designee of the employer.

(d)

“Personal account” means an account or profile on an electronic medium where users may create, share, and view user-generated content, including uploading or downloading videos or still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant messages, or internet website profiles or locations that is used by an employee or an applicant exclusively for personal purposes.

2.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subdivision, it shall be unlawful for any employer to request, require or coerce any employee or applicant for employment to:

(i)

disclose any user name and password, password, or other authentication information for accessing a personal account through an electronic communications device;

(ii)

access the employee’s or applicant’s personal account in the presence of the employer; or

(iii)

reproduce in any manner photographs, video, or other information contained within a personal account obtained by the means prohibited in this paragraph.

(b)

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.

(c)

For the purposes of this section, “access” shall not include an employee or applicant voluntarily adding an employer, agent of the employer, or employment agency to their list of contacts associated with a personal internet account.

3.

An employer may not:

(a)

Discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalize or threaten to discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalize an employee for an employee’s refusal to disclose any information specified in paragraph (a) of subdivision two of this section; or

(b)

Fail or refuse to hire any applicant as a result of the applicant’s refusal to disclose any information specified in paragraph (a) of subdivision two of this section.

4.

It shall be an affirmative defense to an action under this section that the employer acted to comply with requirements of a federal, state or local law.

5.

(a) Nothing in this section shall prohibit an employer from:

(i)

requesting or requiring an employee to disclose access information to an account provided by the employer where such account is used for business purposes and the employee was provided prior notice of the employer’s right to request or require such access information;

(ii)

requesting or requiring an employee to disclose access information to an account known to an employer to be used for business purposes;

(iii)

accessing an electronic communications device paid for in whole or in part by the employer where the provision of or payment for such electronic communications device was conditioned on the employer’s right to access such device and the employee was provided prior notice of and explicitly agreed to such conditions. However, nothing in this subparagraph shall permit an employer to access any personal accounts on such device;

(iv)

complying with a court order in obtaining or providing information from, or access to, an employee’s accounts as such court order may require;

(v)

restricting or prohibiting an employee’s access to certain websites while using an employer’s network or while using an electronic communications device paid for in whole or part by the employer where the provision of or payment for such electronic communications device was conditioned on the employer’s right to restrict such access and the employee was provided prior notice of and explicitly agreed to such conditions.

(b)

This section does not prohibit or restrict an employer from complying with a duty to screen employees or applicants prior to hiring or to monitor or retain employee communications that is established under federal law or by a self regulatory organization, as defined in section 3(a)(26) of the securities and exchange act of 1934, 15 USC §78c(a)(26).

(c)

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.

6.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any law enforcement agency, a fire department or a department of corrections and community supervision.

Source: Section 201-I — Request for access to personal accounts prohibited, https://www.­nysenate.­gov/legislation/laws/LAB/201-I (updated Mar. 15, 2024; accessed Jun. 15, 2024).

200
General duty to protect health and safety of employees
200‑A
Laws to be posted at airports
201
Laws and orders to be posted
201‑A
Fingerprinting of employees prohibited
201‑B
Fees for medical examination
201‑C
Discrimination in child-care leave prohibited
201‑D
Discrimination against the engagement in certain activities
201‑E
Maintenance of employee-patient records at occupational health service centers
201‑F
Posting regulations on employment of persons previously convicted of one or more crimes
201‑G
Prevention of sexual harassment
201‑H
Posting of veterans’ benefits and services
201‑I
Request for access to personal accounts prohibited
202
Protection of the public and of persons engaged at window cleaning and cleaning of exterior surfaces of buildings
202‑A
Leave of absence for bone marrow donations
202‑B
Leave for organ or bone marrow donation granted to state employees
202‑C
Prevention of personal injuries in the use of ski tows, other passenger tramways and downhill ski areas
202‑D
Coin-operated machines performing a manufacturing process
202‑E
Protection of persons employed on/in vehicular bridges and/or tunnels
202‑F
Protection of hotel and motel employees against fire hazards in employee housing facilities
202‑G
Display of fuel-connected appliances in wholesale or retail store
202‑H
High-voltage proximity
202‑I
Leave of absence for military spouses
202‑J
Leave of absence for blood donation granted to employees
202‑K
Protection of persons employed in the broadcast industry
202‑L
Leave of absence for volunteer emergency responders
203
Washrooms, washing facilities and waterclosets for elevator employees
203‑A
Seats in certain passenger elevators or relief for the operator
203‑B
Seats for female employees
203‑C
Employee privacy protection
203‑D
Employee personal identifying information
203‑E
Prohibition of discrimination based on an employee’s or a dependent’s reproductive health decision making
203‑F
Inventions made by employees
204
Inspection of boilers
204‑B
Refunds
205
Prohibition against eating meals in certain workrooms
206
Prevention of personal injuries to persons engaged in tree trimming
206‑A
Physical examinations of females
206‑C
Right of nursing employees to express breast milk
207
Protection of employees at switchboards
207‑A
Employee safety in work on energized high voltage lines
208
Labels, brands and marks used by labor organizations
209
Illegal use of labels, brands and marks
209‑A
Fraudulent representation in labor organizations
210
Proceedings for nonenforcement
210‑A
Legal duty to employees
211
Protection of employees
211‑A
Prohibition against use of funds
212
Drinking water for farm laborers
212‑A
Migrant registration law
212‑B
Farm labor camp commissaries
212‑C
Definitions
212‑D
Field sanitation for farm hand workers, farm field workers and farm food processing workers
213
Violations of provisions of labor law
213‑A
Special provisions regarding the purchasing of apparel or sports equipment by the state university of New York and the city university of...
214
Criminal prosecution
215
Penalties and civil action
215‑A
Discrimination against employees for failure to meet certain ticket quotas
215‑B
Children
215‑C
Discrimination against employees for displaying the American flag
216
Failure to pay statutory inspection fees
217
Employee notification and remittance of premiums
218
Violations of certain provisions
218‑A
Sun safety education for state employees
218‑B
Prevention of occupational exposure to an airborne infectious disease
219
Violations of certain wage payment provisions
219‑A
Affirmation in lieu of oath
219‑C
Public notice of employer violations
219‑D
Emergency alert notification system employer registration

Accessed:
Jun. 15, 2024

Last modified:
Mar. 15, 2024

§ 201-I’s source at nysenate​.gov

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