Employers: You Might Not Be Able to Demand Access to Employee’s Social Media Accounts

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On June 18, 2012 the PA House of Representatives introduced Bill 2332, also known as – PA’s Social Media Privacy Protection Act. The bill is meant deter employers from requesting social media passwords and access to personal social media accounts of employees and prospective employees.

Employers are still able to view and use what is found in the public domain. That means if you are posting something negative about your employer on a social media site, such as Facebook or Twitter, your employer is within their rights to fire. Employers can also restrict usage of electronic devices and internet site.  However the bill specifically states what they are not permitted to do:

Section 3.  Privacy protection.

(a)  General rule.–An employer may not request or require
that an employee or prospective employee disclose any user name,
password or other means for accessing a private or personal
social media account, service or Internet website.

(b)  Refusal.–An employer may not do any of the following:

(1)  Discharge, discipline or otherwise penalize or
threaten to discharge, discipline or otherwise penalize an
employee for an employee’s refusal to disclose any
information specified under subsection (a).

(2)  Fail or refuse to hire any prospective employee as a
result of the prospective employee’s refusal to disclose any
information specified under subsection (a).

Read the full bill here: House Bill – 2332

In my opinion this is absolutely the correct decision. Expecting employees and prospective employees to give up their passwords to social media is a clear violation of privacy. It would be like expecting them to give you their personal email account passwords or the password to their personal voicemail.

What do you think?

As an employer if you’re nervous about how employees are using social media platforms, the best thing to do is have a clear company wide policy with the rules.  If you need help with this reach out to us. We can help you create the social media policy that best suits your business.

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