HR Alert

Vermont Passes Workplace Social Media Privacy Law

Law Effective January 1, 2018

Vermont has passed a workplace social media privacy law. Highlights of the law are presented below.

Prohibited Employer Actions
Under the law, 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 account; or
  • Change the account or privacy settings of the employee's or applicant's social media account to increase third-party access to its contents.

Additionally, an employer may not require or coerce an employee or applicant to add anyone--including the employer--to his or her list of contacts associated with a social media account.

Note: An agreement by an employee to waive his or her rights under the law is not valid.

Permissible Employer Actions
An employer may request an employee to share specifically identified content for the purpose of:

  • 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 account; or
  • Change the account or privacy settings of the employee's or applicant's social media account to increase third-party access to its contents.

Additionally, an employer may request or require an employee to provide a username or password that is necessary to access an employer-issued electronic device.

Note: The law may not be construed to prevent an employer from complying with the requirements of state or federal law.

Additional details are contained in the text of the law. The law is effective January 1, 2018.


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