Legislation seeks to ban employer use of employee social media passwords

Arnstein & Lehr attorney Mark A. Spognardi

Mark A. Spognardi

Chicago Partner Mark Spognardi recently wrote an article, “Legislation seeks to ban employer use of employee social media passwords: Companies could face privacy or discrimination suits for requesting personal log-in information,” that discusses the recent legislative trend seeking to prohibit employers from asking applicants and employees for usernames and passwords to their social media networking sites. He further states that the legislation is a reaction to stories of employers seeking access to personal social media sites to gather information that they then use to make employment decisions.

Mr. Spognardi describes two bills that Congress is currently considering: the Social Networking Online Protection Act and the Password Protection Act of 2012. He comments that employers must carefully consider whether to require the disclosure of passwords even in unregulated states, as they may face a privacy lawsuit; the employer must also consider the risk of obtaining knowledge of a protected characteristic or medical condition that could lead to allegations of discrimination under federal, state or local laws.

The article appeared in the September 3 issue of Inside Counsel. To read it in full, please click here.

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