The meteoric rise of Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin has blurred the lines between what’s public and private in social media—a potentially thorny issue in the workplace—and spurred an influx of groundbreaking litigation and legislation to define those lines. 

This week, for example, the Labor Committee heard a proposal designed to protect current and future employees from having to give their employers passwords to their social media accounts as a condition of employment. 

Rarely do employers actually ask for an employee or prospective employee’s social media account passwords, but SB 159, An Act Concerning Employee Privacy, does raise some legitimate privacy concerns for businesses.

For example it provides no instance in which an employer can ask for a password.

That’s an important issue to address, along with ensuring appropriate privacy for employees. Some flexibility should be provided for when an employer can—or must—require an employee to provide his or her social media account passwords. 

For example:

  • Employers need to be able to deal with the very real threat of an employee transferring a company’s proprietary, confidential or financial data
  • Some employers—such as healthcare companies—will need access to these accounts in order to ensure compliance with strict legal and regulatory requirements

CBIA has provided the committee with model language that would address the privacy concerns of prospective employees and outline a very narrow set of circumstances in which a current employee would have to provide an employer with his or her social media account passwords. 

The model language was developed by the State Privacy and Security Coalition, and was used to address similar concerns in other states. 

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Gjede at 860.244.1931 or eric.gjede@cbia.com.