Advertisement

April 18, 2014

New Year, New Laws for California Employers – Employer Access to Social Media

California employers received more attention in 2012 with 554 bills introduced in the legislature mentioning “employer,” compared to 346 in 2011.  Fortunately, most bills do not become law.  However, those that do bring with them new challenges for California employers.  As 2013 draws near we begin our series, “New Year, New Laws for California Employers."  Prepared by  Mark Terman, partner in the Los Angeles office, this series will take a look at some of the significant new regulations affecting private employers doing business in California.

Employer Access to Social Media

Social media is everywhere. Facebook, for example, claims 1 billion users with more than 140 billion friend connections among them. For some employers, this may be too attractive a source of information about employees
and job applicants. Balancing employee expectations of privacy against employer business protection needs, AB 1844 prohibits employers from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant to disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media or to access personal social media in the presence of the employer or to divulge any personal social media.

It also prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining (or threatening to
do so) or retaliating against an employee or applicant for refusing a demand or request by the employer that violates this law.

Excepted from this new law are employer requests to divulge personal social media reasonably believed to be relevant to an investigation of allegations of employee misconduct or employee violation of applicable laws and regulations, provided that the social media is used solely for purposes of that investigation or a related proceeding.

Nothing in this law limits an employer from requiring or requesting an employee to disclose a username, password or other method for the purpose of accessing an employer-issued electronic device.

At the same time, the National Labor Relations Board and its counsel continue to opine on when an employer’s policies

or actions regarding employee use of
social media interfere with the protection
of concerted activity of employees to,
for example, discuss wages and working conditions, whether it involves union activity.

The NLRB general counsel’s third and most recent report, which may surprise nonunion employers, is at www.calcpa.org/ NLRBsocialmediapolicies.

Read the rest of the series:

New Year, New Laws for California Employers - Religious Dress and Grooming Protected and Breastfeeding Further Protected

New Year, New Laws for California Employers – Added Whistle-blower Protections, With Whom Will the EDD Share Employer Reports and Contracts with Commission Employee

©2014 Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. All Rights Reserved

About the Author

Partner

Mark E. Terman is a partner in the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group.  He counsels employers in claim prevention, investigations, discipline, terminations and compliance matters.  Mark successfully represents his clients in federal and state court injunction proceedings, summary judgments, arbitrations, and court and jury trials in employment and business litigation matters.

310-203-4051

Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on www.NatLawReview.com are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is www.NatLawReview.com  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.