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Friday, April 20, 2012

Maryland Passes Social Media Password Law

Until recently, there was no federal or state law expressly prohibiting an employer from requesting or requiring a job candidate to turn over their social media password or logon information.  As reported previously on this blog, a few states have proposed legislation, including Illinois,  Minnesota, and California.

Just last week, Maryland became the first state to pass a law on the practice.  Two identical bills, S.B. 433 and H.B. 964, were passed by the state legislature, and have been forwarded to the Governor to sign the legislation into law. Under this new law, employers are prohibited from requiring employees and job applicants to “disclose any user name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account or service” electronically.  Employers are also prohibited from refusing to hire an applicant for not providing access to this information.  Similarly, employers are not permitted to terminate or discipline an employee for refusing to provide this information. The law takes effect October 1, 2012.

In addition to protecting the privacy of current and prospective employees, the Maryland law also provides employers with some protections.  For example, employees are prohibited from downloading “unauthorized employer proprietary information or financial data” to personal accounts or to websites, and the law allows employers to investigate these activities to ensure “compliance with applicable securities or financial law or regulatory requirements.”   Additionally, employers are permitted to require employees to provide passwords and login information for non-personal accounts that are part of the employer’s own systems, such as company e-mail accounts.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


  1. I think it's right to prohibit an employer from requiring a job candidate to run over their social media password. It protects the privacy of the employees.

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  2. I think it's right to prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to give his or her social media password. This law protects the privacy of the employees.

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  3. Unless it has a direct relation or involvement with their profession (which I doubt), then I don't see any reason why companies should have access to their employees' personal accounts.
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