Law Protects Employees’ Personal Internet Accounts
A new law in Nebraska limits employers’ access to employees’ personal Internet accounts, with certain exceptions.
Under the law, employers are generally prohibited from:
- Requiring or requesting that an employee or applicant provide ordisclose any user name or password (or any other related account information) in order to gain access to the employee’s or applicant’spersonal Internet account by way of an electronic communication device;
- Requiring or requesting that an employee or applicant log into a personal Internet account by way of an electronic communication device in the presence of the employer in a manner that enables the employer to observe the contents of the employee’s or applicant’s personal Internet account (or provides the employer access to the employee’s or applicant’s personal Internet account);
- Requiring an employee or applicant to add anyone—including the employer—to the list of contacts associated with the employee’s or applicant’s personal Internet account or requiring or otherwise coercing an employee or applicant to change the settings on his or her personal Internet account which affects the ability of others to view the content of such account; or
- Taking adverse action against, failing to hire, or otherwise penalizing an employee or applicant for failure to provide or disclose any of the information or to take any of the actions specified above.
Note: Employers are prohibited from requiring an employee or applicant to waive or limit any protection granted under the law as a condition of continued employment or of applying for or receiving an offer of employment.
Among other things, the law does not limit an employer’s right to:
- Request or require an employee or applicant to disclose access information to the employer to gain access to or operate: an electronic communication device supplied by or paid for in whole or in part by the employer; or an account or service provided by the employer, obtained by virtue of the employee’s employment relationship with the employer, or used for the employer’s business purposes; or
- Conduct an investigation or require an employee to cooperate in an investigation under certain circumstances.
Additional rules are outlined in the text of the law. The measure takes effect July 19, 2016.
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