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Boss Buzzing You After Hours? NYC Wants You To Say Buzz Off

Technology that once promised freedom from the confines of an office has, for many workers, become a ball and chain, blurring the lines between work hours and, well, any other hours. A New York City Council member wants to put a stop to that.

The proposal would bar employers from requiring employees to respond to non-emergency emails, texts and other digital communications outside regular work hours. It would also outlaw retaliating against workers who choose to unplug.

The recently introduced legislation is only in the beginning stages, with initial committee hearings expected sometime in June, and doubters wonder how it could work, especially in always-buzzing New York City.

But bill sponsor Rafael Espinal, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn, said the legislation is needed because the city that never sleeps isn't supposed to be the city that never stops working.

"Work has spilled into our personal lives," he said. "We're always connected to our phones or to a computer once we leave the office."

It's important, he said, for people to be "able to draw a clear line between the workplace and their personal lives, to give them time to connect with their family, friends, reduce their stress levels and be able to go back to work and perform at their optimal level."

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