As of today, there are now a total of six states which have passed laws which specifically prohibit employers from demanding that employees provide the employer with their Facebook passwords: California, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.
As more and more employers have begun demanding access to employees’ or potential employees’ personal, non-public social media data, these laws represent clearly developing trend towards greater protection of employee privacy. It is important to note, however, that none of the laws enacted to date prohibit employers from reviewing what employees or potential employees publicly post to social media sites.
With this kind of rapidly changing privacy landscape, it is increasingly important for employers to continuously review and update their hiring and other employment policies. What’s more, the most recent laws are most likely only the tip of the iceberg. Many other states are considering similar laws, some of them potentially even more far reaching than those enacted by these first six states. Likewise, the specter of increasing federal laws and regulations dealing with privacy both within and outside the workplace is also increasingly real.
And so, the $100,000 question: “Have you reviewed your company’s employment policies lately?” If not, now is a good time to do so!