The Workplace and Social Medial Law – What Employers Should Know

With the growing advancements in technology, it’s no secret to anyone these days (even employers) that people are accessing social media sites like Facebook and Twitter almost constantly, from their smart phones, iPads, even their workplace computers.  Los Angeles employment attorneys understand that in a highly ‘connected’ world, companies are often worried about what their employees are doing online, what they are saying – and even if they’re being productive or spending more work time engaging in social media.

Should employers be able to demand an employee or potential employee’s sign in information to these sites, such as user ID and password?  This has been a hot topic of debate over recent months in state legislation talks.  As an employer in California, you should know that legislation has passed to protect private employees against having his or her social media account information accessed by employers.  Such legislation has passed in several states, including New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, Illinois, and Maryland.  In fact, while private employees are currently protected from being required to disclose log in data for personal social media accounts to employers, a bill has been proposed in California which would give public employees such protection as well.

All of the hoopla over social media privacy began in 2010, when Robert Collins was interviewed for a position with the Maryland Department of Corrections.  According to a news article at Time Magazine, the individual who was interviewing Collins wanted to ensure that Collins had no affiliation with gangs, and therefore demanded access to the applicant’s Facebook account.  Ultimately, the ACLU became involved and Maryland was the first state to make it illegal for employers to request such information from prospective or existing employees.

Ultimately, employers who run small businesses in California, as well as those who are closely-held private companies, should update your employee handbook to include a social media policy provision.

Need assistance determining what policies should be included in your employee handbook regarding internet use and social media?  Contact the highly regarded Los Angeles business attorneys at Spotora & Associates.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2013 at 4:58 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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