Illinois has joined a growing trend to protect workers from employers that want access to their Facebook or other social networking accounts. On August 1, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.
Under the law, which is effective January 1, 2013, it will be unlawful for any employer to request or require an employee or prospective employee to provide any password or other related account information to gain access to the employee’s/applicant’s account or profile on a social networking website. Similarly, the law bars employers from demanding access in any manner to such information.
Nothing in the law limits your right to maintain workplace policies governing applicable use of the Internet, e-mail, and social networking sites. Nor does it prohibit you from monitoring whatever a worker or applicant has posted online to the general public.
For more on this amendment, see “Illinois bill to protect social networking passwords advances” in the June 2012 issue of Illinois Employment Law Letter.