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August 12 2014

More States Restrict Employers’ Access To Employees’ Social Media Accounts

State legislatures are enacting laws limiting employers' ability to access the social media accounts of their employees. Thus far in 2014, four more states -Louisiana,Oklahoma,TennesseeandWisconsin- have enacted social media legislation, bringing the total number of states with such legislation to 16.

Generally, state social media laws bar employers from requiring or requesting that an employee or applicant provide log-in credentials for his|her personal social media account. Some of these state social media laws also prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to add another employee or supervisor to a social media account "friends" or contacts list or to access personal social media accounts in the employer's presence.

Many of the state social media laws also prohibit employers from basing adverse employment action on an employee's refusal to comply with an employer's request for social media account access. Notably, all four of the recently-enacted laws allow employers to monitor the social media activity of employees when employees access their social media accounts through employer-provided IT systems.