Employers Beware: Requiring Applicants or Employees to Provide Social Networking Passwords or Access to Private Accounts May Violate the Law

March 10, 2016Articles BNA's Health Law Reporter

Researching candidates through social media, and monitoring employees’ online comments, have become routine practices for many companies. However, when health-care organizations and other employers require their applicants or employees to divulge their social networking usernames or passwords, or to ‘‘friend’’ them on social media sites, they may be violating the law.

It is now customary for most employers to use social media to screen their applicants. A recent survey conducted for as of 2015 found that, 52 percent of hiring managers use search engines to research candidates, up from 43 percent in 2014 and 39 percent in 2013.

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Reproduced with permission from BNA’s Health Law Reporter, 25 HLR 321, 3/10/16. Copyright 2016 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)