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Your Legal Corner - Client Alert Blog

CA Employers — Don't Ask For Access to Your Employees Personal Facebook or Twitter Account

Written By: Melissa C. Marsh, Esq., California Attorney, October 2012 Add to Favorites
For the past few years a growing number of California employers and recruiters have been asking their employees and job applicants for access to their Facebook, MySpace, and other social media pages where not only the prospective job applicant may disclose his or her age, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, but also other personal information that should be irrelevant to the employer. Employees and job applicants can now let out a sigh of relief with the passage of Assembly Bill 1844 which will be codified in California Labor Code Section 980.

Under the newly enacted California Labor Code §980, California employers are prohibited from asking job applicants and employees for their Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social media user names and passwords. Effective January 1, 2013, California Labor Code §980 prohibits California employers from requiring or requesting a job applicant, or employee, to: (1) disclose their user name and password to access personal social media accounts, (2) open their personal social media pages in the employer’s presence, or to (3) divulge any personal social media accounts. There are two exemptions set forth in the Code under which an employer may ask its employee for access to their social media pages. The first exemption applies is if the employer "reasonably believes" such information is relevant to an ongoing investigation of alleged employee misconduct, or relevant to a violation of applicable laws. The second exemption allows the employer access the employee's social media pages if the passwords or information are contained on an employer-issued electronic device (e.g. employer provided smart phone).

New California Labor Code §980 further prohibits an employer from retaliating (discharging, disciplining, threatening to discharge or discipline) against an employee, or job applicant, for not complying with a request or demand by the employer that violates these provisions.

Tags: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter
Posted In: Employment Law News 

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Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site was prepared by Melissa C. Marsh for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided in my articles and alerts should not be relied upon, or used as a substitute for professional legal advice from an attorney you retain to advise or represent you. Your use of this Internet site does not create an attorney- client relationship. Transmission of this article is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. All uses of the contents of this site, other than personal uses, are prohibited. You may print or email a copy of any information posted on this web site for your own personal, non-commercial, use, but you may not publish any of the articles or posts on this web site without the Express Written Permission of Melissa C. Marsh.

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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.