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By: Brad Adler
Reacting to the chorus of critics lamenting the purported trend of employers demanding employees provide them with their social networking passwords, Illinois has now joined Maryland in prohibiting companies from demanding an employee’s social networking passwords as a condition of employment. The law applies to both small and large employers and is administered by the Illinois Department of Labor. In the event that employers violate this new law, employees can sue employers in state court. It should be noted that several other states also are considering similar legislation, so if your organization currently seeks such information from employees as a condition of their employment, you need to stay current on this area of the law in the state where the employee is working.
Finally, there is nothing in this law that prohibits employers from implementing and enforcing electronic monitoring policies when employees are using the employer’s technology resources. But this new law does remind employers that the language of any such policies have to be well-drafted and enforced in a manner consistent with state (and federal) law.