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SECTION 537
Disclosures prohibited
Labor (LAB) CHAPTER 31, ARTICLE 18, TITLE 3
§ 537. Disclosures prohibited. 1. a. Unemployment insurance
information. (i) Unemployment insurance information is information
contained in the records of the department pertaining to the
administration of this article, including information obtained by the
department from employers and employees pursuant to this article. The
term includes wage reporting information obtained by the department from
the state department of taxation and finance pursuant to subdivision
four of section one hundred seventy-one-a and paragraph four of
subsection (a) of section six hundred seventy-four of the tax law. It
further includes information in the state directory of new hires that
has been disclosed to the department for use in the unemployment
insurance program. Such information does not include the personnel or
general fiscal information of the department or information in the
public domain.

(ii) For purposes of this paragraph, the term public domain means: (A)
information about the department and the unemployment insurance appeal
board; (B) information about applicable state and federal law, rules and
regulations pertaining to unemployment insurance, including
interpretations thereof and statements of general policy and
interpretations of general applicability but excluding investigative
manuals and procedures pertaining to unemployment insurance; and (C) any
agreements relating to the administration of this article.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in this subdivision shall be
construed to limit, restrict, or abrogate the department's right to deny
access to any records pursuant to the provisions of the public officers
law.

b. Use of unemployment insurance information. Unemployment insurance
information shall be for the exclusive use and information of the
commissioner in the discharge of his or her duties under this chapter
and shall not be open to the public nor be used in any court in any
action or proceeding pending therein unless the commissioner is a party
to such action or proceeding, or such action or proceeding involves
information provided pursuant to paragraph g of subdivision three of
this section, notwithstanding any other provisions of law. Such
information insofar as it is material to the making and determination of
a claim for benefits or to adjudicating a claim for benefits shall be
available to the parties affected and, in the commissioner's discretion,
may be made available to the parties affected in connection with
effecting placement.

c. Disclosure of unemployment insurance information to an individual
or employer. (i) The department may disclose unemployment insurance
information about an individual to such individual or unemployment
insurance information about an employer to such employer. As a condition
to making such disclosure, the department shall require a written
authorization to disclose such information from the individual or
employer in a form acceptable to the department together with such proof
of identity or authorization to act on behalf of the individual or
employer as the commissioner shall deem appropriate. Notwithstanding the
foregoing, except as may otherwise be authorized under paragraph b of
this subdivision, this paragraph shall not be construed to authorize the
department to disclose information acquired from an employer under this
article to an individual or information acquired from an employee under
this article to an employer.

(ii) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit the
disclosure of the wage reporting information obtained by the department
from the department of taxation and finance pursuant to subdivision four
of section one hundred seventy-one-a and paragraph four of subsection
(a) of section six hundred seventy-four of the tax law pertaining to an
individual to such individual or pertaining to an employer to such
employer.

d. Disclosure upon informed consent. (i) The department may disclose
unemployment insurance information about an individual or an employer to
an agent of such individual or employer, or to a third party, on the
basis of informed consent received from such individual or employer. An
informed consent from an individual shall not be construed to authorize
the department to disclose information acquired from an employer under
this article to an agent or third party identified in an individual's
informed consent nor to authorize the department to disclose information
acquired from an individual under this article to the agent or third
party identified in the employer's informed consent. Nothing in this
subdivision shall be construed to prohibit the disclosure of the wage
reporting information obtained by the department from the department of
taxation and finance pursuant to subdivision four of section one hundred
seventy-one-a and paragraph four of subsection (a) of section six
hundred seventy-four of the tax law pertaining to an individual to the
agent or third party identified in the individual's informed consent or
pertaining to an employer to the agent or third party identified in the
employer's consent.

(ii) Informed consent shall consist of a written release from the
individual or employer to whom the information pertains. Where a written
release is impossible or impracticable to obtain, the department may
accept an informed consent from a representative acceptable to the
department, including but not limited to a conservator, guardian, or
executor or administrator of a decedent's estate, together with such
documentation as the department deems necessary, including but not
limited to orders of appointment or letters of administration, to
establish the right of the representative to act on the individual's
behalf. An informed consent must include a statement:

(A) specifically identifying the information that is to be disclosed;

(B) acknowledging that department files will be accessed to obtain the
information;

(C) identifying the specific purpose or purposes for which the
information is sought, subject to the limitations on such purpose or
purposes set forth in subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph, and
indicating that information obtained under the release will only be used
for that purpose or purposes; and

(D) identifying all the parties who may receive the information
disclosed pursuant to the consent.

(iii) The purpose specified in the release must be limited to
providing a service or benefit to the individual signing the release
that such individual expects to receive as a result of signing the
release or for the purpose of carrying out administration or evaluation
of a public program to which the release pertains.

e. Funding for disclosure of requested unemployment insurance
information. Except as permitted under applicable federal law or
regulation, or as otherwise authorized by agreement between the
department and the United States Department of Labor, federal
unemployment insurance grant funds shall not be used to pay for any of
the costs incurred by the department in processing and handling a
request for disclosure of unemployment information made under this
article.

2. Violations of the confidentiality provisions of this section. Any
person, who, without authority of the commissioner or as otherwise
required by law, shall disclose information in violation of the
confidentiality provisions of this section, upon conviction, shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor.

3. Exceptions. The commissioner may, however, disclose the information
described in subdivisions one and four of this section under the
following circumstances:

a. Federal law. The commissioner shall report fully and completely to
the appropriate agency of the United States on the effect and
administration of this article in the manner prescribed by such agency,
and further he or she shall make information available, upon request, to
any federal, state or local agency entitled to such information under
the social security act or any other federal law in the manner
prescribed by such federal law or its implementing regulations.

b. Chief administrator of the courts; commissioners of jurors; county
clerks; chief judges of United States district courts; clerks of the
court or jury administrators of the United States district courts.

(i) The commissioner shall provide lists of the names of persons
receiving unemployment insurance benefits to the chief administrator of
the courts, appointed pursuant to section two hundred ten of the
judiciary law. The lists shall be provided for the sole purpose of
integration into lists of prospective jurors as provided by section five
hundred six of the judiciary law. The chief administrator of the courts
shall upon request provide information from the lists to the
commissioner of jurors in each county or, in a county within a city
having a population of one million or more, the county clerk of said
county, solely for the purpose of compiling lists of prospective jurors
for the appropriate county. The lists of persons receiving unemployment
insurance benefits shall be provided only pursuant to a cooperative
agreement between the chief administrator of the courts and the
commissioner that is consistent with all federal regulations or
requirements governing such disclosures and guarantees that all
necessary steps shall be taken by the chief administrator of the courts,
the commissioners of jurors and the county clerks to insure that the
lists are kept confidential and that there is no unauthorized use or
disclosure of such lists. Furthermore, the lists will be provided only
if the chief administrator of the courts determines that the lists are
needed for integration into lists of prospective jurors in one or more
counties.

(ii) The commissioner shall provide lists of the names of persons
receiving unemployment insurance benefits to the chief judge of any
United States district court in New York State, appointed pursuant to
title twenty-eight of the United States Code, section one hundred
thirty-six. The lists shall be provided for the sole purpose of
integration into lists of prospective jurors in such United States
district court. The chief judge of such district court shall upon
request provide information from the lists to the clerk of the court or
jury administrator of such United States district court, solely for the
purpose of compiling lists of prospective jurors for such district
court. The lists of persons receiving unemployment insurance benefits
shall be provided only pursuant to a cooperative agreement between the
chief judge of such district court and the commissioner that is
consistent with all federal regulations or requirements governing such
disclosures and guarantees that all necessary steps shall be taken by
the chief judge of the district court, the clerk of the court or jury
administrator of such district court to insure that the lists are kept
confidential and that there is no unauthorized use or disclosure of such
lists. Furthermore, the lists will be provided only if the chief judge
of such district court determines that the lists are needed for
integration into lists of prospective jurors in such district.

c. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the delivery of
unemployment benefit information contained in the department's records
to the secretary of health and human services of the United States or
the state agency responsible for collecting such information, in
accordance with regulations promulgated by such secretary, as necessary
for the purposes of the national directory of new hires as established
under section four hundred fifty-three A of the social security act, as
added by section three hundred thirteen of the personal responsibility
and work opportunity reconciliation act of 1996, P.L. 104-193.

d. (i) Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the disclosure
quarterly, to the secretary of health and human services of the United
States or the state agency responsible for collecting such information,
claim information contained in the department's records, as required by
section four hundred fifty-three A of the social security act
(establishing the national directory) as amended by section three
hundred thirteen of the personal responsibility and work opportunity
reconciliation act of 1996, P.L. 104-193. Such claim information is to
be used only for the purposes of section four hundred fifty-three A of
the social security act in carrying out child support enforcement
programs. Costs of furnishing such claim information shall be reimbursed
consistent with federal law and regulations.

(ii) For the purpose of this paragraph the term "claim information"
means information regarding whether an individual is receiving, has
received, or has made application for, unemployment insurance benefits,
the amount of such benefits being received or to be received and the
individual's most recent address contained in the department's records.

e. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the disclosure of
claim information as defined in subparagraph (ii) of paragraph d of this
subdivision to the "state directory of new hires," as established under
section one hundred seventy-one-h of the tax law as amended, and to the
state office of temporary and disability assistance for disseminating to
support collection units designated by social services districts or
their duly authorized agents for all purposes designated by the personal
responsibility and worker opportunity reconciliation act of 1996, public
law 104-193. The cost of providing such claim information shall be
reimbursed consistent with federal law and regulations.

f. United States census bureau. Upon request to the commissioner, such
information may be disclosed to the United States census bureau for
statistical analyses related to population and employment measurements
and trends. The confidentiality of such information shall be protected
by subdivisions one and two of this section and title thirteen of the
United States Code and subject to the terms of a written agreement
between the United States census bureau and the commissioner.

g. Federal, state and local agencies. (i) Upon request to the
commissioner, such information may be disclosed to certain federal,
state and local agencies. The commissioner may require written
agreements with requesting agencies in a form determined by the
commissioner and consistent with 20 CFR 603 and other federal
regulations. The information that may be disclosed pursuant to this
paragraph shall be disclosed only after the requesting agency has
demonstrated, to the commissioner's satisfaction, that the information
shall be kept confidential, except for those purposes for which it was
provided to the requesting agency, and that the requesting agency has
security safeguards in place to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of
such information.

(ii) The information disclosed pursuant to this paragraph may be
disclosed to the following agencies to be used exclusively for the
following legitimate governmental purposes:

(1) any federal, state or local agency in the investigation of fraud
relating to public programs, or misuse of public funds;

(2) any state or United States territorial workforce agency, local
workforce investment board and its agents, and one-stop operating
partner receiving funds under the workforce investment act of 1998 for
program performance purposes and other legitimate programmatic purposes
authorized by the commissioner;

(3) the United States department of labor or its agents, as required
by law, or in connection with the requirements imposed as a result of
receiving federal administrative funding;

(4) state and local economic development agencies, or their agents,
where such information is necessary to carry out the statutory functions
of such agencies, shall receive a quarterly census of employment and
wage information compiled by the department, provided that such
disclosure shall not violate federal law. Any redisclosure of
information obtained by such agencies under this clause shall be limited
to tabulation and publication of such information in an aggregated
statistical form. No individual identifying information obtained
pursuant to this clause shall be redisclosed in the course of the
tabulation or publication. As used in this clause, the term "aggregated
statistical form" shall mean, in the case of information regarding
individuals, a data set that includes information about not fewer than
ten individuals, and, in the case of employer information, a data set
that includes information about no fewer than three employers, of which
no one employer comprises more than eighty percent of the aggregated
data set; and

(5) the workers' compensation board, the state insurance fund and the
state department of financial services, for purposes of determining
compliance with the coverage of workers' compensation and disability
insurance and to the workers' compensation board for purposes of
determining eligibility for workers' compensation benefits.

(6) any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency in accordance
with a proper judicial order or grand jury subpoena served upon the
department.

(7) the office of temporary and disability assistance, or local social
services districts, for purposes of establishing or verifying the income
and eligibility of applicants for, or recipients of, benefits under
state public assistance programs for such benefits. Information obtained
by the office of temporary and disability assistance under this clause
shall not be disclosed, except to local social services districts for
purposes of establishing or verifying the income and eligibility of
applicants for, or recipients of, benefits under state public assistance
programs.

(8) the office of vocational and educational services for individuals
with disabilities of the education department for the evaluation of the
effect on earnings of participants, or former participants, in
employment and training programs for which the office of vocational and
educational services for individuals with disabilities of the education
department has reporting, monitoring or evaluating responsibilities.

(9) the commission for the blind for the evaluation of the effect on
earnings of participants, or former participants, in employment and
training programs for which the commission for the blind has reporting,
monitoring or evaluating responsibilities.

(10) any other federal, state, or local governmental agency, including
the state university of New York, the city university of New York, and
any of their constituent units, or the agents or contractors of a
governmental agency, where such information is to be used for (A)
evaluation of program performance, including, but not limited to,
longitudinal outcome analysis of programs (including programs funded by
public or private moneys or a combination thereof) to the extent
permitted by federal law; (B) financial or other analysis required by
federal, state, or local law or regulation; (C) preparation of reports
required by federal, state, or local law or regulation; (D) operation of
public programs by such agencies, their agents, contractors and
subcontractors, whenever the commissioner determines that such
information sharing is for the purpose of improving the quality or
delivery of program services or to create operational efficiencies; or
(E) establishment of common case management systems between federal,
state, or local agencies delivering or supporting workforce services for
a shared customer base, wherever such common case management system is
for the purpose of fostering workforce partnerships, program
coordination, inter-agency collaboration, improving program services, or
creating operational efficiencies. Any redisclosure of information
obtained by such agencies, their agents, or their contractors under this
clause shall be limited to tabulation and publication of such
information in an aggregated statistical form, except when an agency,
its agent, its contractor or other agency must exchange such information
for an authorized purpose as provided for in the written agreement
required by 20 CFR Part 603. No individual identifying information
obtained pursuant to paragraph d of subdivision one of this section
shall be redisclosed in the course of the tabulation or publication. As
used in this clause, the term "aggregated statistical form" shall mean,
in the case of information regarding individuals, a data set that
includes information about no fewer than ten individuals, and, in the
case of employer information, a data set that includes information about
no fewer than three employers, of which no one employer comprises more
than eighty percent of the aggregated data set. When the commissioner
approves a requested disclosure of information for the purposes of a
longitudinal study, the commissioner shall allow such information to be
used for a specified period of time as provided for in the written
agreement required by 20 CFR Part 603. Such agreement may only provide
for information to be used for a period of up to ten years but may be
renewed for additional periods of time.

(11) (A) Pursuant to clause ten of this subparagraph, the commissioner
shall electronically post in a place accessible by the general public
(i) the minimum conditions for granting a request from governmental
agencies for disclosure of information, (ii) a standard application for
submitting requests for disclosure of unemployment insurance information
in individually identifiable form in accordance with paragraph d of
subdivision one of this section, in de-identified unit level form, or
aggregated statistical form, (iii) the timeframe for information request
determinations by the commissioner, such that within twenty business
days of receiving a request, the commissioner shall either approve or
deny the request or ask for additional information; within twenty
business days of receiving a request for additional information, the
requesting agency shall respond to the commissioner, and; within thirty
calendar days of receiving the additional information, the commissioner
shall provide a final approval or denial of the request, and (iv)
contact information for assistance with requests for disclosure of
information.

(B) Any approval or denial pursuant to clause ten of this subparagraph
shall be in writing. Denials shall identify the reason or category of
reason for the denial.

(C) The commissioner shall issue guidelines regarding the development
of agreements with respect to disclosures approved pursuant to clause
ten of this subparagraph, and such guidelines shall include, but not be
limited to, the process and timeframe for developing such agreements and
the terms therein consistent with 20 CFR Part 603 and other federal
regulations.

h. Department contractors, subcontractors, or agents. The department
may disclose unemployment insurance information to its contractors,
subcontractors, or agents as the commissioner deems necessary to carry
out the statutory functions of the department. Such disclosure shall be
consistent with the authorized purposes described in subdivision four of
this section and all applicable federal regulations, guidelines and
policies.

i. Payment to the department for disclosure of requested unemployment
insurance information. (1) Except as permitted under applicable federal
law or regulation, or as otherwise authorized by agreement between the
department and the United States department of labor, federal
unemployment insurance grant funds shall not be used to pay for any of
the costs incurred by the department in processing and handling a
request for disclosure of unemployment information made under this
article. Such costs shall be calculated, collected, and administered by
the department consistent with applicable federal rules and guidelines
and shall be paid in advance of disclosure to the department by the
entity requesting the information or by another party acting on behalf
of such entity. Where the recipient is a public official, the department
may accept payment of costs by way of reimbursement.

(2) Costs paid under this paragraph shall be income of the state
unemployment insurance program and shall only be used as permitted under
the provisions of applicable federal regulations or guidelines governing
the assessment and expenditure of such costs.

4. Wage reporting information obtained by the department from the
state department of taxation and finance pursuant to subdivision four of
section one hundred seventy-one-a of the tax law, as added by chapter
five hundred forty-five of the laws of nineteen hundred seventy-eight,
and information obtained or derived from quarterly combined withholding,
wage reporting and unemployment insurance returns required to be filed
by employers pursuant to paragraph four of subsection (a) of section six
hundred seventy-four of the tax law shall be considered confidential and
shall be used for the administration of the unemployment insurance
program, employment services program, federal and state employment and
training programs, employment statistics and labor market information
programs, employer services program, worker protection programs, federal
programs for which the department has administrative responsibility or
for other purposes deemed appropriate by the commissioner under this
chapter. Such information shall not be disclosed to persons or agencies
other than those considered entitled to such information under the
social security act or other federal law, or as provided in subdivision
three of this section or when such disclosure is necessary for the
proper administration of the department's unemployment insurance
program, employment services program, employment and training programs,
worker protection programs, federal programs for which the department
has administrative responsibility or for other purposes deemed
appropriate by the commissioner under this chapter. Any reports
concerning employment and training programs submitted to a state or
federal agency shall also be submitted to the governor, the temporary
president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly and the chairs of
the labor committees in the senate and the assembly.

5. Withholding tax information obtained by the department from the
state department of taxation and finance pursuant to subsection (1) of
section six hundred ninety-seven of the tax law shall be confidential
and shall not be disclosed or redisclosed by any person or agency except
in accordance with the provisions of subsections (e) and (l) of section
six hundred ninety-seven of such law. When used for the purpose of
evaluating monitoring or reporting on the department's employment
security and training programs, access to such information shall be
limited to that which concerns individuals who applied to or
participated in such programs.

7. The department shall notify all applicants to, and participants in,
employment security and training programs for which the department has
reporting, monitoring or evaluating responsibilities that information
obtained from the department of taxation and finance may be used to
evaluate program effectiveness of up to ten years after such application
or participation, whichever is later.