|October 5, 2012|
Previously published on October 4, 2012
California joins Illinois and Maryland in enacting a law that greatly limits an employer’s right to access the social media information of employees and applicants. The California Labor Code now prohibits an employer from:
- requiring or requesting an employee or job applicant to disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media;
- requiring or requesting an employee to access personal social media in the presence of the employer;
- firing, disciplining or retaliating against employees who refuse to divulge social media information; and,
- requiring or requesting the divulging of any personal social media, unless an employer asks for personal social media that it reasonably believes to be relevant to an investigation of workplace misconduct or a violation of laws and regulations.
“Social media” is defined as an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, email, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.
The new law permits an employer to require the disclosure of a username and password to access an employer-issued electronic device.
Both laws become effective on January 1, 2013.