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S.F. No. 1432 - Employee username and password privacy
 
Author: Senator D. Scott Dibble
 
Prepared By: Priyanka Premo, Senate Counsel (651/296-3914)
 
Date: March 18, 2019



 

Overview

This bill prohibits employers from compelling their employees or applicants to provide access to their personal social media accounts. This bill authorizes persons aggrieved by violation of this section from bringing an action against the employer and its employees or agents.

Summary

Section 1. Employee username and password privacy protection.

Subd. 1. Definitions. Provides definitions for the following terms: “applicant,” “employee,” employer,” “personal social media account,” and “specific content."

Subd. 2. Employer access prohibited. Prohibits an employer from requiring or coercing an employee or a job applicant to:

  • provide their username or password to a personal social media account;
  • show their social media account to their employer; or
  • give the employer access to the social media account by changing their social media account privacy settings or adding the employer to a list of contacts.

Subd. 3. Employer actions prohibited. Prohibits an employer from:

  • retaliating against an employee who refuses to share information about their personal social media account; or
  • refusing to hire an applicant who refuses to share their social media account information.

Subd. 4. Employer actions permitted. Provides that nothing in this section prevents an employer from:

  • accessing publicly available information;
  • complying with other laws or regulations;
  • requesting specific content that has been reported to the employer to ensure compliance with applicable laws; to investigate an allegation of unauthorized transfer of the employer’s proprietary, confidential, or financial information; or to investigate an allegation of unlawful harassment in the work place; or
  • prohibiting use of a social media account for business purposes, during business hours, or on business property.

Subd. 5. Employer protected if access inadvertent; use prohibited. Provides that an employer does not violate the provisions of this section by receiving an employee’s password or protected materials through virus scans or other employer monitoring of the network on employer provided devices, but the employer must not use the information to access the employee’s social media account or share the information with anyone. The employer must delete the information.

Subd. 6. Enforcement. A person injured by a violation of this section may bring an action against the employer, its employees, or its agents for actual damages, including pain and suffering, equitable relief, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

Subd. 7. Severability. Provides that the provisions in this section are severable – if a part of this section is held invalid, the remainder of the section shall continue to have force and effect.

Effective date. This section is effective on August 1, 2019 and applies to actions taken on or after that date.

 
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