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Workplace Privacy, Data Management & Security Report

Bans on Employers Requesting Social Media Passwords Continue as New Year Approaches

Written by Jason Gavejian

One of the hottest topics throughout 2012 was the various states which passed, or enacted, legislation which prohibits employers from requiring current, or prospective, employees to disclose a user name or password for a personal social media account, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. In fact, this issue was recently featured in an article on nbcnews.com.   

Notably, fourteen states introduced such legislation in 2012, with Michigan becoming the most recent state to enact such legislation when Governor Rick Snyder signed his state’s equivalent law (HB 5523) last Friday. As we have discussed, California, Delaware (dealing with students at colleges and universities), Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey (pending Governor’s signature) also enacted laws on this issue in 2012.

We anticipate that other states will address this issue through legislation in 2013 and beyond. It is essential for businesses to be conscious of these new laws, and to carefully consider this issue whether or not the state in which they operate currently prohibits such conduct.