News

New Louisiana law prohibits employers from seeking social media passwords

by Josh Wood and H. Mark Adams

Louisiana’s new Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act (House Bill 340) goes into effect August 1. It precludes employers from requesting or requiring employees and job applicants to disclose any username or password that allows access to their personal online accounts.

The law prohibits employers from discharging or disciplining employees or from refusing to hire applicants who won’t divulge their personal information. The law allows employers to request or require employees to disclose usernames or passwords to gain access to or operate electronic communication devices paid for or supplied in whole or in part by the company or to gain access to or operate any account or service provided by the employer or used for its business purposes.

The law also allows employers to discipline or discharge employees for transferring proprietary, confidential, or financial data to their personal online accounts without permission. In addition, employers aren’t prohibited from viewing or accessing information about an employee or applicant that could be obtained without a username and password or is available in the public domain.

For more information on other new Louisiana employment-related laws, see the June issue of Louisiana Employment Law Letter.

Josh Wood is an attorney with Jones Walker LLP in New Orleans. He can be reached at jwood@joneswalker.com. H. Mark Adams is a partner with Jones Walker LLP in New Orleans. He can be reached at madams@joneswalker.com.