October 22, 2021

Volume XI, Number 295

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Illinois Employers Beware: New Law Prohibits Employers from Seeking Social Media Password Information

Employers in Illinois will be prohibited from seeking social networking password information from employees and applicants starting Jan. 1, 2013, now that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed into law Public Act 097-0875, which is an amendment to the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, 820 ILCS 55/10.

As we previously reported , the legislation makes it unlawful for an employer to require an employee or applicant to disclose passwords or other related social networking account information in order for the employer to access information that might otherwise be considered private by the employee or applicant. However, employers are not barred from accessing information that is in the public domain

Illinois becomes the second state, after Maryland, to enact such a law, according to a press release from Governor Quinn's office announcing that he signed the legislation into law on August 1. The new law does not limit an employer's right to promulgate and maintain otherwise lawful workplace policies regarding the use of the employer's computer equipment, Internet use, social networking site use, and electronic mail use. 

Illinois employers should consider reviewing existing policies and practices with an eye toward ensuring compliance with this new law.

© 2021 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume II, Number 216
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About this Author

Norma W. Zeitler, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Chicago, Employment Law Attorney
Partner

Norma W. Zeitler is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and a member of the Labor and Employment Department and the Associations and Foundations Practice Group. She concentrates her practice on employment law, and represents employers in the defense of employment discrimination, retaliatory discharge, breach-of-contract, workplace tort, and restrictive covenant cases in federal and state courts and administrative agencies. She also provides day-to-day counseling for employers on all matters that impact the employment relationship.

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312-214-8312
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