• Legal Issues: Washington State Enacts Social Media Privacy Law

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    June 12, 2013

    Following a trend among states, Washington has enacted a social media privacy bill, banning employers from requesting user names and passwords of current or prospective employees’ personal social media accounts. The new Washington law is effective on July 28, 2013.

    Washington joins other states that have enacted such legislation, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah.

    Jackson Lewis LLP reports that the new Washington law’s definition of “employer” as any person, firm, corporation, partnership, business trust, legal representative, or other business entity that engages in any business, industry, profession or other activity in Washington and employs one or more employees.

    Under the law, employers may not:

    • Ask for login information, such as user names or passwords for an employee’s or applicant’s personal social networking account;
    • Request, require, or coerce an employee or applicant to access his or her personal social networking account in the employer’s presence in a manner that allows the employer to observe the contents of the account;
    • Compel or coerce an employee or applicant to add a person, including the employer, as a friend or contact associated with the employee’s or applicant’s social networking account; or
    • Request, require, or cause an employee or applicant to alter his or her settings, which may affect a third party’s ability to view the contents of the account.

Legal Issues: Washington State Enacts Social Media Privacy Law