The State of Connecticut has enacted a new law which will limit an employer’s access to personal online accounts of prospective employees and employees, to take effect on October 1, 2015.
Gov. Dannel Malloy signed P. A. 15 – 6 into law on May 19, 2015. Under the new law and employer may not:
1. Require or request prospective employees or employees to disclose usernames and passwords for personal online accounts.
2. Require or request prospective employees or employees to authenticate or access a personal online account in the employer’s presence.
3. Demand that prospective employees or employees invite the employer or accept the employer’s invitation to join a group related to the employee’s personal online account.
4. Discipline or threaten to discipline any employee in retaliation for any employee’s refusal to comply with a request regarding on line accounts that violates this law.
The law does not:
1. Include any online accounts created used or maintained by the employee for business purposes.
2. Prohibit the employer from requesting or requiring an employee to provide password or authentication information for any online accounts or services provided by the employer that the employer uses for business or for electronic communications devices paid for or supplied by the employer.
The new law will allow an employer in an effort to comply with laws and regulations to conduct an investigation based on receipt of “specific information” concerning:
1. Activity of an employee or prospective employee in connection with their personal online account.
2. An employee or prospective employee’s unauthorized transfer of employer’s confidential, proprietary or financial information to or from the employee’s personal online account.
In connection with the investigation, an employer may require an employee or prospective employee to allow access to personal online account provided the employer does not require disclosure of account passwords or other authentication information.
Connecticut will be the 21st state to pass a law which restricts employer access to personal online accounts.
Gilbride, Tusa, Last & Spellane LLC is a general practice law firm of nineteen attorneys with offices in Greenwich and New Canaan, Connecticut, New York City and West Palm Beach and Naples, Florida. The firm provides a full range of legal services to individuals, families, businesses and non-for-profit entities in the metropolitan area.