Social media is quickly becoming part of the social fabric of our country. It is as common and normal as a casual conversation in the school hallway or workplace break room. Because it occurs over the Internet, however, those casual conversations are memorialized in more than the minds of the participants. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all provide platforms for communication between people in all walks of life and across the globe.
What a lot of people do not recognize is that the written words left behind on these services become information that is discoverable by persons for whom the communications were not meant. Discovery of what might have been meant to be a private conversation is analogous to eavesdropping.
Many employers regularly seek information about applicants to determine their suitability for employment. The information typically sought, however, has been limited to public records. Now, with the explosion of social media use, employers are increasingly looking there for information about both existing and prospective employees.
For applicants, employers may be interested in their private views about social issues or how they communicate with others. For current employees, the employer may be looking for work-related gossip, criticism of the employer, unauthorized sharing of business information, and other such information. The fact remains, however, that conversations on the private side of these social media outlets should be just as private as a face-to-face conversation in your living room.
Fortunately, California is one the leading states in enacting a law to protect the rights of applicants and employees from improper snooping. Employers may look at any information posted in the public domains of social media, just as they could read a letter you might write to the newspaper.
What your employer cannot do is ask or require you to provide access to the private side of your social media accounts. Specifically, an employer may not request or require as a condition of employment that you provide your logon credentials. It also may not require you to logon to your account with the employer’s representative present. An employer may obtain information from your account in the course of an investigation into wrongdoing or criminal behavior, for that limited purpose. Contact Labor Law Office, APC today to speak with a professional general labor law attorney in Sacramento.
Sacramento, CA 95821