Blog

 
     

Vermont Restricts Employer Access to Social Media Accounts

By Michael Klazema on 3/5/2018

Under newly adopted 21 V.S.A. § 495k (b), an employer may not require, request, or coerce an employee or applicant to do any of the following:

  • Disclose a username, password, or other means of authentication, or turn over an unlocked personal electronic device for the purpose of accessing the employee’s or applicant’s social media account;
  • Access a social media account in the presence of the employer;
  • Divulge or present any content from the employee’s or applicant’s social media; or
  • Change the account or privacy settings of the employee’s or applicant’s social media account to increase third-party access to its content.

In addition, an employer may not coerce or require an employee or applicant to add anyone—including the employer—to their list of contacts associated with their social media account. 

There are exceptions to this law. An employer may request an employee to share specifically identified content for the purpose of:

  • Complying with the employer’s legal and regulatory obligations;
  • Investigating an allegation of the unauthorized transfer or disclosure of an employer’s proprietary or confidential information or financial data through an employee’s or an applicant’s social media account; or
  • Investigating an allegation of unlawful harassment, threats of violence in the workplace, or discriminatory or disparaging content concerning another employee.

Please note that the law may not be construed to prevent an employer from complying with the requirements of state or federal law. The law does not apply to the employer’s own social media account.

What This Means to You

  • This update applies to all employers in Vermont.
  • Vermont made it illegal for employers to require employees and applicants to disclose usernames and passwords that would allow the employer to access personal online accounts.
  • Vermont made it illegal for employers to require an employee or applicant to add them (employer) to their list of contacts associated with their social media account.

House Bill 462 is accessible here for review: https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT037/
ACT037%20As%20Enacted.pdf


Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • June 20 Repeat background checks are becoming more common, with companies in India leading the charge. What does this trend look like, and how can employers embrace it now to stay ahead of the curve?
  • June 19

    Every federal job involves a background check of some kind. These background checks and how they are evaluated vary based on job, department, and security clearance level.


  • June 18

  • June 14 Ban the box laws aim to improve opportunities for employment. Could they have the opposite effect instead?
  • June 13 Jacobs Petroleum Products is a regional petroleum company that operates throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Apart from their employees carrying much responsibility and have frequent contact with customers, the company’s hiring also tends to be segmented since individual store managers are responsible for hiring talent for their own stores. In this employment landscape, Jacobs Petroleum Products needed a reliable and effective way to screen its new hires for criminal infractions and other red flags.
  • June 12

    The University of Wisconsin System may tweak its hiring and reference check processes. The potential changes come after one of UW’s assistant deans was accused of sexual harassment.


  • June 07 Stories of abuse by coaches in youth sports leagues continue to crop up around the country, but rules and guidelines remain patchy and enforcement is often lacking. The struggle to implement an effective system continues nationwide.
  • June 07 Financial background checks, usually referred to as credit history checks, can be an effective way to find out if a candidate is fit to handle accounts, financial data, and other assets at your business.
  • June 06 The Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute recently commissioned a survey to find out how willing employers were to hire people with criminal records. The study indicates that managers, HR professionals, and employees themselves are becoming more comfortable with the idea of hiring and working with ex-offenders.
  • June 04 Are fingerprint background checks the gold standard for employee screening, or are they overhyped? We look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these checks.