Does Your Employer Have the Right to Access Your Social Media Account?

In 2012 California passed a law preventing employers from requesting an employee’s or prospective employee’s username and passwords.  This year 23 states introduced this legislation,and nine enacted the law.

According to the National Conference of State Legislation “Some employers argue that access to personal accounts is needed to protect proprietary information or trade secrets, to comply with federal financial regulations, or to prevent the employer from being exposed to legal liabilities.

Companies such as Apple are incredibly concerned about keeping products a secret before they hit the market. Just hours before the September 2015 Apple product reveal, the Apple watch sport band was leaked online by technology blogger Larry Greenberg. Even Apple’s company policy on social media was leaked in 2011.

“Employee’s may run their own websites, but are not permitted to discuss Apple on that website.” Many employers have already adopted their own social media policies, and it is important that you are informed on those policies to protect you from ever jeopardizing your job by failing to follow these policies.

As a previous employee of In-In-Out Burger, we received training on the strict social networking policy. Alike Apple’s policy, employee’s not allowed to discuss work on our social networks. Employee’s are also prohibited from posting any media while in the store.

I question exceptions to this law, if any, for example, sexual harassment investigations. Should an employee’s privacy be held more important that the allegations made against him or her?

Before MySpace or Facebook was, my mother told me “Remember anything you send to someone on the internet could be found by anyone smart enough.” This message has always stuck with me, what is considered private property on the internet, and what information are you forced to give up in an ongoing investigation?

Below find a video coverage from CBS New York:


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