Legislation and Compliance Update: Maryland House and Senate Pass Law Prohibiting Employers from Requesting Social Media Passwords

By Michael Klazema on 5/21/2012

The Maryland House and Senate have passed, and the Governor is expected to sign, a bill prohibiting employers from requesting log-in information for an employee’s or applicant’s personal online accounts. This includes social media log-in information.


Additionally, the bill prohibits employers from

  • taking, or threatening to take, disciplinary actions for an employee's refusal to provide such information; and
  • failing to hire an applicant for refusing to provide such information.

Employers are still allowed to require employees disclose the necessary information for accessing a non-personal account or service that provides access to the employer’s internal computer or information systems.  Furthermore, employers can conduct investigations based on personal accounts if they are trying to abide by securities or financial laws or regulatory requirements or if the employer is looking into unauthorized downloading of proprietary or financial information to a given website or web-based account.

Many other states have similar bills proposed and even more are expected to propose similar bills soon. For more details on the Maryland bills, please click here for the House Bill and here for the Senate Bill.

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