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New York Can No Longer Access Workers’ Private Social Media

A new law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul last month prohibits employers from accessing a worker’s or applicant’s private social media accounts, which advocates claim is a win for worker privacy.

Employers across New York can no longer access private social media accounts of their workers or job applicants, thanks to a new law Gov. Kathy Hochul signed last month.

The legislation, brought by State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D- Queens) and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-the Bronx) in their respective chambers, amends the state labor law to prohibit employers from accessing a worker's or applicant's private social media accounts.

As written, the law includes a number of carve-outs related to things like certain types of employees, such as police, accessing information that's publicly available on a given website, or having access to employees' login information for the businesses' system.

"The proliferation of social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Threads has vastly increased the accessibility of information," Dinowitz said in a statement to the New York Post. "Nevertheless, certain employers go to great lengths beyond publicly shared data when making hiring and disciplinary determinations.

"This includes the unwarranted solicitation of social media usernames and passwords and access to personal email and other highly private accounts from prospective and current employees. Such requests represent a grave breach of privacy on the employer's part and can raise concerns regarding unfair and discriminatory hiring and admission practices," he said.

Hochul signed the bill Sept. 14, and a spokesperson described her decision to post as a way to "protect the privacy of New Yorkers and protect their rights in the workplace."

(c)2023 Staten Island Advance, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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