senate Bill S6938

2011-2012 Legislative Session

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

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Apr 13, 2012 referred to labor

Co-Sponsors

S6938 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Labor Law
Laws Affected:
Add §215-d, Lab L

S6938 - Bill Texts

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

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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.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  6938

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             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.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD15345-01-2

S. 6938                             2

  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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