Does an employer have the right to ask for access to an employee’s personal social media accounts?
If an employer fires an employee for refusing to provide the employer access to the employee’s personal social media, the termination could be deemed a Wrongful Termination.
If a prospective employer refuses to hire a job applicant for refusing to provide the employer access to their personal social media, the job applicant may be a victim of Employment Discrimination.
In recent years, it has become increasingly popular for employers, or prospective employers, to use social media sites as a way to monitor employee conduct, and check the backgrounds of job applicants. A recent California law regarding an employer’s right to access an employee’s personal social media accounts may be changing this practice.
California Labor Code, § 980, prohibits an employer from requesting a job applicant or employee for access to his or her personal social media, except in limited circumstances.
California Labor Code, § 980 further states that an employer may not take retaliatory actions against an employee or a job applicant, for refusing to comply with the employer’s demand to provide access to his or her personal social media account, or to divulge a personal social media password.
“Social media” means an electronic service, platform, or account, where users share and exchange electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, emails, online services or accounts, or Internet website profiles or locations.
If your employer requests access to your personal Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or any other social media account, you should immediately seek legal advice from an experienced Employment Law Attorney.
Although certain exceptions and special circumstances may apply, generally speaking, you should not disclose your personal social media username and/or password to any employer, before having first talked to a qualified Employment Law Attorney.
What about company-issued electronic devices?
California Labor Code, § 980, does not apply to employer-issued electronic devices. Generally, employees can expect to have no privacy rights with company-issued computers, smartphones, or tablets. For this reason, it is unadvisable for an employee to store their personal login information, or to even access any social media sites with their personal username and password on company-issued electronic devices.
Learn More About California’s Social Media Access Policy
If you have recently been denied employment, or have been discharged, retaliated against, or believe you may soon be retaliated against, intimidated, or wrongfully terminated for refusing to provide your employer access to a personal social media account, you need to know your legal rights. Contact the law office of SANFORD A. KASSEL, A Professional Law Corporation, and talk to one of our experienced Employment Law Attorneys. We serve all of Southern California, from our San Bernardino-based offices. Call 909.884.6451 or complete our online Contact Form, to schedule a FREE consultation.