New Florida law offers employers protection against hackers

September 28, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Lisa Berg

Effective October 1, Florida business owners will have a new civil remedy in the event they’re harmed by unauthorized access to their computers or information stored on protected computers.

Under Florida’s Computer Abuse and Data Recovery Act (CADRA), businesses can pursue a civil action for “harm or loss” suffered as a result of unauthorized access to “protected computers.”

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Virginia online privacy law takes effect July 1

June 25, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Sara Sakagami

Virginia’s new law placing restrictions on the circumstances in which employers may access their employees’ social media accounts takes effect July 1.

Virginia Code § 40.1-28.7:5 prohibits employers from requiring current or prospective employees to either (1) disclose login information for a personal social media account or (2) add an employee, supervisor, or administrator to the list of contacts associated with a personal social media account. The law defines a “social media account” as a “personal account with an electronic medium or service where users may create, share or view user-generated content.” Included in the definition are videos on sites such as YouTube, photographs on sites such as Instagram or Photobucket, blogs, podcasts, messages, e-mails, and website profiles and locations.

The law prohibits employers from using inadvertently obtained login information to access an employee’s social media account. The law also makes it illegal for employers to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee for exercising his rights under the law or threatening or taking actions to discharge, discipline, or penalize a current employee for exercising his rights.

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Utah social media password law takes effect May 14

May 02, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Darryl J. Lee

Utah’s Internet Employment Privacy Act (IEPA) goes into effect May 14, making Utah the latest state to prohibit employers from requiring employees or job applicants to disclose their passwords or user names for personal social media accounts. Similar legislation has been enacted in California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, and New Jersey.

The law provides that employers may not: read more…

New York law protecting SSNs takes effect

December 12, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Katherine Ritts Schafer

An amendment to New York state’s Social Security Number Protection Law goes into effect today, and employers need to understand its implications.

Although there are a number of exceptions, employers generally are prohibited from requiring an individual to disclose or furnish his Social Security number (SSN) “for any purpose in connection with any activity.” The amendment also bars employers from refusing any service, privilege, or right to an individual, in whole or in part, because he refuses to disclose or furnish his SSN.

Exceptions

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Supreme Court: Background Investigations on Federal Contract Employees OK

January 19, 2011 0 COMMENTS

Wednesday, in NASA v. Nelson, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that the government didn’t violate federal contract employees’ constitutional rights by using certain background investigations. In this case, contract employees at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory sued NASA, alleging that the background checks it was using violated their constitutional rights to informational privacy.

The background checks in question required the employees to fill out a standard form that asked about their involvement with illegal drugs and whether they had received any treatment or counseling. The employees also had to sign a release that authorized the government to acquire personal information from employers, schools, and others, and the government sent questionnaires to the employees’ references. The questionnaires asked open-ended questions about the employees’ “honesty or trustworthiness” and whether the references had “adverse information” related to various other matters.

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Supreme Court Rules Public Employee’s Text Messages Not Private

June 17, 2010 0 COMMENTS

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a public employer did not violate an employee’s constitutional privacy rights by searching his personal (and often sexually explicit) text messages that were sent and received on his employer-issued pager.

The Backstory
The City of Ontario, California, issued pagers that could send and receive text messages to Ontario Police Department (OPD) SWAT Team members, including Jeff Quon. When the OPD was charged with overage text message fees, it looked at the transcripts of text messages sent during a two-month period by Quon and another employee who had exceeded the text allowance. Much to the OPD’s surprise, it discovered a plethora of messages on Quon’s pager that were not work-related, including some that were sexually explicit. The matter was referred to OPD’s internal affairs division, and Quon was allegedly disciplined.

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