The Washington State Senate unanimously approved amendments to the social networking legislation. The proposed amendments would prohibit employers from coercing or requesting that employees provide them with login information for personal social networking sites.
The amendment also prohibits employers from requiring employees to “add” employers to their list of contacts of their personal social networking sites.
In addition, the amendment grants the employee or a prospective employee the opportunity to sue the employer if the employer violates the new law. There is a statutory fine of $500 plus attorney fees.
The proposed law and penalties reflect a need to protect the privacy of an employee. Of course, if the employee grants access and/or the employee’s information is readily available over the internet, then one might argue that the rules here would not apply. There are exemptions to the law which would allow an employer to seek information from an employee’s private social networking site as well. As an employee, one should be prudent about what they put on a social networking site such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, check the privacy settings on those sites to ensure that only those that you want to see your information are allowed to see it.
Cruz Law, PLLC would be happy to answer any inquiries about the new social media law.