Employee Rights Regarding Social Networks Passwords and Login Information

May 31, 2013

The article BYOD Policy: Employee Rights to Social Media Privacy is Paramount on PC Advisor, advises companies on the ideal way to approach social media privacy of its employees. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies are now often legal documents with a privacy section outlining employee rights. Any attempt by an employer to access ISP’s or internet service providers can lead to a fine or imprisonment. The article explains,

“There is a legal precedent favoring employee rights: Pietrylov. Hillstone Restaurant Group in 2009, whereby a couple of employees created a MySpace page to complain to registered members about the company. Managers allegedly pressured one member, another employee, to give up her log-in ID and password to access the MySpace page. The two employees that created the MySpace page were outed and fired, yet the court upheld the jury’s verdict that Hillstone was liable for violations of the SCA.”

Janco Associates, a management-consulting firm, has a 14-page BYOD policy. But the underlying message is simple: the employer must not attempt to access the employees private social networks. Even requesting login information is dangerous because the burden falls on the employer to prove that they did not coerce the employee for the information. Being cautious and viewing employees private information as sacrosanct may be the easiest ways to avoid legal issues. To learn more about planning a safe and constructive social media strategy, visit ArnoldIT.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 31, 2013

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