California Passes Bill Preventing Social Media Account Access
While Maryland was the first state to pass a Social Media account access protection law, California now has one too and many states plan to follow. Here’s the statutory language:
SECTION 1. Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 980) is added to Part 3 of Division 2 of the Labor Code, to read:
Chapter 2.5. Employer Use of Social Media
980. (a) As used in this chapter, “social media” means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, e-mail, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.
(b) An employer shall not require or request an employee or applicant for employment to do any of the following: (1) Disclose a user name or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media.
(2) Access personal social media in the presence of the employer.
(3) Divulge any personal social media.
(c) Nothing in this section is intended to affect an employer’s existing rights and obligations to investigate allegations of employee misconduct or employee violation of applicable laws and regulations.
(d) Nothing in this section precludes an employer from requiring or requesting an employee to disclose a username, password, or other method for the purpose of accessing an employer-issued electronic device.
(e) An employer shall not discharge, discipline, threaten to discharge or discipline, or otherwise retaliate against an employee or applicant for not complying with a request or demand by the employer that violates this section. However, this section does not prohibit an employer from terminating or otherwise taking an adverse action against an employee or applicant if otherwise permitted by law.
To understand what all of that means I suggest you look at the bill analysis by both the Senate and Assembly labor committees. Interestingly, the only opposition to the bill came from the securities and financial sector claiming it conflicted with obligations they have under Federal statutes. HR That Works Members should view the Social Media Training Module.