Blog

 
     

Delaware Restricts Employer Access to Social Media

By Michael Klazema on 8/14/2015

Delaware is the newest state to restrict employer’s access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. Delaware House Bill 109 became effective when the Governor approved it on August 7, 2015.

Delaware’s new law applies to all employers in the State, except the United States government. It defines “employer” as any person or group of persons acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee or applicant, including the State and any political subdivision or board, department, commission, or school district. The law makes it unlawful for employers, subject to certain exceptions, to require or request an employee or applicant to:

1.    Disclose a username or password for the purpose of enabling the employer to access personal social media;

2.    Access personal social media in the presence of the employer;

3.    Use personal social media as a condition of employment;

4.    Divulge any personal social media;

5.    Add a person, including the employer, to the list of contacts associated with the employee’s or applicant’s personal social media, or invite or accept an invitation from any person, including the employer, to join a group associated with the employee’s or applicant’s personal social media; and

6.    Alter the settings on the employee’s or applicant’s personal social media that affect a third party’s ability to view the content of the personal social media.

Exceptions to Delaware’s restrictions are very similar to what we have seen other states enact. The restrictions do not apply for the purpose of accessing electronic devices or accounts and services provided by the employer for work-related purposes. Employers are also permitted to monitor, review, access, and block electronic data stored on an employer’s network or electronic device that it supplies or pays for in whole or in part. Employers are permitted to conduct investigations into allegations of workplace misconduct or employee violations of applicable laws and regulations.  The law does not impede an employer from complying with a duty to screen employees or applicants before hiring, or to monitor or retain employee communications when required by law or in relation to law enforcement employment. Finally, information that is in the public domain is also exempt from the law.

The law specifies that employers must not discharge, discipline, threaten to discharge or discipline, or otherwise retaliate against an employee or applicant for failing to comply with a request or demand by the employer that violates the law. However, the law does not prohibit an employer from terminating or otherwise taking an adverse action against an employee or applicant if otherwise permitted by law.

You may access Delaware’s House Bill 109 here: http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis148.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+109/$file/legis.html?open

What This Means for You:

  • Delaware has made it illegal for employers to require employees and applicants to disclose user name and passwords that would allow the employer to access personal social media accounts. 
  • You should determine whether you have employees in the state of Delaware. 
  • If you do, review your workplace policies and procedures with your lawyer to ensure compliance with the new law.

Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • December 11 The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General criticized a migrant youth detention center on the border for not running the proper background checks. Federal law requires the facility to screen all employees with FBI fingerprint checks.
  • December 06 In a bid to combat money laundering and illicit funding sources for terrorists flowing through the country's real estate sector, Singapore's government now mandates background checks for buyers purchasing properties prior to development.
  • December 04 What is a reference check? How does it vary from a work history check? We explore these questions and others.
  • December 04 Chicago Public Schools has dismissed hundreds of employees, coaches, vendors, and volunteers based on background check findings. The district recently vowed to re-check the majority of its 68,000 employees after a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed holes in its background check policies.
  • November 29 Striving to create a safer environment more conducive to productive training and leadership development, the Army has recently moved to adopt a uniform policy of background checks for certain roles. 
  • November 27 For hiring managers to verify the information provided on a resume, verification is essential.  Such is the purpose of employment history background checks.
  • November 27 California’s biggest public school district is waiving the cost of volunteer background checks. The move is meant to encourage more family - and community members to get involved with the school district.
  • November 22 Contractors play an important role in the workforce, delivering services to both individuals and organizations. Vetting contractors for suitability continues to be a challenge, as two recent articles prove.
  • November 21 When it comes to background and pre-employment checks, it can be instructive to look at the characteristics of the ten most massive U.S. employers.
  • November 21

    Verification checks are a powerful way to assess how truthful a job candidate has been on his or her application or resume. These checks can verify work history, education verification, professional licenses, and favorable personal qualities.