CLIENT ALERT – New York Acts to Protect Employee Social Security Numbers

To protect employee privacy, effective December 12, 2012 employers in New York will be prohibited from requiring employees to disclose social security numbers for employment or employment services/privileges. The new law further prohibits requiring disclosure of only a portion of a social security number, thereby ending the common practice of providing only the last four digits of the SSN.

Several exceptions exist, including where social security numbers are necessary under law (e.g., signing up for certain benefits; completing IRS W-4 forms) or where the employees consents to disclosure. While there is no private right of action under the new law, the New York Attorney General is empowered to impose penalties of up to $1,000 per employee.