Tennessee – 14th State to Enact Social Media Password Law
On the heels of Wisconsin, Tennessee has become the fourteenth state to enact a “social media password law” – a law restricting employers’ right to request or require employees or applicants to disclose passwords to personal Internet or social media accounts. The other states to enact such laws are: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Tennessee’s law restricts all employers, regardless of size, from requesting or requiring employees or applicants to disclose personal Internet account passwords, requiring employees or applicants to add the employer on a list of contacts associated with such an account (e.g., requiring employee or applicant to “friend” the employer on Facebook), or forcing an employee or applicant to allow them to “shoulder-surf.” Similar to other social media password laws, this law includes a litany of exceptions including where information is in the public domain, where there is an investigation regarding taking confidential or proprietary information, and where the device used belongs to the employer.
Employers in Tennessee and the other thirteen states should understand the applicable state law and all employers should take care when using social media to aid in employment decisions.
Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with state and federal employment laws. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.965.0560.