West Virginia joins states limiting access to employees’ social media accounts

June 06, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Tracey B. Eberling

West Virginia’s new law regulating employer access to employees’ and applicants’ personal social media accounts goes into effect June 10.

The West Virginia Internet Privacy Protection Act is aimed at protecting employees’ “personal accounts,” defined as “an account, service or profile on a social networking website that is used by an employee or potential employee exclusively for personal communications unrelated to any business purposes of the employer.”

The new law says that an employer may not: read more…

Connecticut employers need to be ready for new social media law

September 10, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by John Herrington

Connecticut employers need to prepare for a new law taking effect October 1 limiting how they can access social media accounts belonging to employees and applicants.

The new law prohibits an employer from:

  • Requesting or requiring employees or applicants to provide a username, password, or any other authentication means for accessing a personal online account;
  • Requesting or requiring employees or applicants to authenticate or access a personal online account in the presence of the employer;
  • Requiring employees or applicants to invite the employer or to accept an invitation from the employer to join a group affiliated with a personal online account;
  • Discharging, disciplining, discriminating against, retaliating against, or otherwise penalizing employees who refuse to provide the means to access a personal online account; or
  • Failing or refusing to hire applicants based on their refusal to provide access to a personal online account.

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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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New Hampshire social media privacy law takes effect September 30

September 16, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Jeanine Poole

New Hampshire employers need to be reviewing their policies regarding employee use of social media and electronic equipment now that a new law protecting employee privacy is set to take effect September 30.

The new law prohibits New Hampshire employers from requesting or requiring current or prospective employees to disclose some information related to their personal social media accounts. The law defines “personal account” as “an account, service, or profile on a social networking website that is used by a current or prospective employee primarily for personal communications unrelated to any business purpose of the employer.”

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New Louisiana law prohibits employers from seeking social media passwords

July 10, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Josh Wood and H. Mark Adams

Louisiana’s new Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act (House Bill 340) goes into effect August 1. It precludes employers from requesting or requiring employees and job applicants to disclose any username or password that allows access to their personal online accounts.

The law prohibits employers from discharging or disciplining employees or from refusing to hire applicants who won’t divulge their personal information. The law allows employers to request or require employees to disclose usernames or passwords to gain access to or operate electronic communication devices paid for or supplied in whole or in part by the company or to gain access to or operate any account or service provided by the employer or used for its business purposes.

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Oklahoma joins states limiting social media access in hiring

May 23, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Philip Bruce

Oklahoma has joined the ranks of states that limit employers’ ability to require access to applicants’ and employees’ social media accounts. Governor Mary Fallin signed the law on May 21, and it will go into effect on November 1, 2014.

The law prohibits almost all employers from requiring employees or prospective employees to provide user names, passwords, or access to their social media accounts. The law makes it illegal to take adverse action against employees or applicants for refusing to give access to their social media accounts.

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Governor Walker friends Facebook users, bars employers from trolling employees’ accounts

April 09, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Saul C. Glazer

The question of whether employers can require applicants or current employees to divulge social media passwords has been hotly debated both from a legal and a moral standpoint. On April 8, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill protecting nonpublic social media accounts. This bill, which takes effect April 10, prohibits an employer, educational institution, or landlord from:

  1. Requesting an employee, applicant for employment, student, prospective student, tenant, or prospective tenant to grant access to, allow observation of, or disclose information that allows access to or observation of the personal Internet account of the employee, applicant, student, prospective student, tenant, or prospective tenant; and
  2. Discharging, expelling, suspending, disciplining, or otherwise penalizing or discriminating against any person for exercising the right to refuse such a request, opposing such a practice, filing a complaint or attempting to enforce that right, or testifying or assisting in any action or proceeding to enforce that right.

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New Jersey social media privacy law takes effect December 1

October 31, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by David K. Reid

Employers need to be ready for New Jersey’s new social media privacy law, which takes effect December 1. The law prohibits employers from requiring applicants and employees to disclose their user names and passwords for personal social media accounts or otherwise provide access to their accounts.

The law doesn’t apply to an employee’s social media account that is used for business purposes. The new law allows employers to access employees’ or applicants’ social media pages that are shared publicly. Also, after receiving specific information, employers may investigate a violation of law, employee misconduct, or the unauthorized transfer of proprietary, confidential, or financial information via an employee’s personal social media account.

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Nevada law on social media privacy, credit reports takes effect October 1

September 23, 2013 0 COMMENTS

Nevada’s new law restricting employer access to employees’ and applicants’ social media accounts and credit information goes into effect October 1. Assembly Bill 181, signed by Governor Brian Sandoval on June 13, provides protections for employees’ personal social media accounts and prohibits employers from conditioning employment on consumer credit reports or other credit information.

The social media part of the law prohibits employers from asking employees or applicants for their user names, passwords, or other information that provides access to their personal social media accounts. The law also prohibits employers from taking action or threatening to take action against employees or applicants for not providing access to their accounts.

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Washington state latest to pass social media privacy law

June 03, 2013 0 COMMENTS

Employers in Washington state should take note of a new law prohibiting them from requiring current or prospective employees to provide access to their social media accounts.

Washington is the eighth state to pass such a law, and the National Conference of State Legislatures says 33 states are considering similar bills this year. The federal government may soon follow suit. A bipartisan group of representatives recently introduced a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Under the Washington state law, which goes into effect July 28, employers are prohibited from: read more…

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