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New York Offers Privacy Protection to Employees’ Social Media Accounts

Social Media

Effective March 12, 2024, New York employers will be prohibited from requesting or requiring employees or job applicants to (1) disclose their usernames, passwords or login information related to their social media accounts, (2) access their personal social media accounts in the presence of the employer/prospective employer or (3) reproduce personal social media account posts, such as photos or videos.

There are some notable exceptions to this new law. Employers may still be able to:

  • Screen job applicants using information from publicly available social media accounts found without asking applicants to disclose their usernames.
  • Access electronic devices it provides to an employee, as long as the employer provides prior notice of this access right, and the employee agrees to such conditions. Employers may not access an employee’s personal social media accounts on any employer-provided electronic device, however.
  • Restrict employees’ access to certain websites while using the employer’s network or an employer-provided electronic device.
  • Require employees to disclose login information for the employer’s business social media accounts and its internal IT systems.
  • Accept voluntary friend or other contact requests from employees and job applicants.
  • Comply with court orders to obtain or provide information from or access to an employee’s personal social media accounts.

New York follows California, Colorado and Illinois and other states as well in enacting this new social media privacy law. It represents a significant step forward in safeguarding the privacy rights of employees in the digital age. The lesson here is that employees should take steps to keep their personal social media accounts private and be aware of their friend connections.

Need an experienced NYC employment law attorney? Don't hesitate to reach out to Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP through our online form, or by calling us at (646) 490-0221.