By Eric B. Meyer
Over the weekend, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill making Colorado the eighth state to have a social media workplace privacy law. (The others are Maryland, Illinois, California, Michigan, Utah, New Mexico, and Arkansas).
You can view a copy of the new Colorado law here.
The new law places three restrictions on employers with respect to access of employee and applicant social media accounts:
- No requests for social media user names and passwords;
- No forced-friending or requiring that the employer be added as a contact; and
- No requiring that privacy settings be changed.
Washington looks to be next
There are a few carve-outs that allow employers to obtain full access to an employee or applicant’s social-media account. One is if an employer reasonably believes that an employee has download proprietary information. Another carve-out applies to satisfy “applicable securities or financial law or regulatory requirements.”
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There is nothing in the new law that expressly permits an employer to get this information to investigate purported violations of non-harassment policies, although, I suppose an employer could rely upon the “regulatory” requirements exception.
Next up for a new social media workplace privacy law appears to be the state of Washington, where a bill now sits on Gov. Jay Inselee‘s desk for signature.
This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.