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Overview of Legislation Prohibiting Employers from Accessing an Employees Social Media Account

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No Surfing Allowed: A Review and Analysis of Legislation Prohibiting Employers from Demanding Access to Employees’ and Job Applicants’ Social Media Accounts
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Robert Sprague

Abstract: This article examines recent state legislation prohibiting employers from requesting username and password information from employees and job applicants in order to access restricted portions of those employees’ and job applicants’ personal social media accounts. This article raises the issue of whether this legislation is even needed, from both practical and legal perspectives, focusing on: (a) how prevalent the practice is of requesting employees’ and job applicants’ social media access information; (b) whether alternative laws already exist which prohibit employers from requesting employees’ and job applicants’ social media access information; and (c) whether any benefits can be derived from this legislative output. After analyzing the potential impact of this legislation on employees, job applicants, and employers, this article concludes that such legislation is but an answer seeking a problem and raises more questions than it answers.

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