Published October 17, 2013 • 0 minute read
As companies navigate the ever-changing social media landscape, they must develop policies which acknowledge the presence of social media in their employee's lives.
This is a balance which must account for emerging legislation which protects employee's right to certain levels of privacy relating to their use of social media vis-a-vis their employers.
Several states have already passed laws against a practice known as "shoulder surfing, wherein an employer would force an employee or applicant to access and view the employee's personal social media profile in the presence of the employer. Many states already have restrictions barring employers from demanding login details to employee's private social media information, but States are going further to forbid the "shoulder surfing" practice.
States are even now getting more granular in their proposed legistation, with more than a dozen states introducing legislation to prohibit employers from having "mandatory friending" policies, wherein an employer would force the employee or applicant to reveal the content of the otherwise private profile.
Social Media privacy legislation is quickly going to be adopted in some form in all 50 states. In 2013 there is simply no excuse for employers to not be familiar with the current social media legislation and case law in your jurisdiction, as well as addressing a comprehensive social media policy in your employee handbooks. Intrusive demands regarding your employee's social media accounts can quickly lead to litigation.