A pair of new employment laws in Nevada that take effect on October 1, 2013 will add new restrictions on employers during the recruiting and hiring process. The measures include strict restrictions on the use of credit checks for employment purposes, as well as employer access to private social media accounts.
Under SB 127, signed by Governor Brian Sandoval in May, Nevada will make it illegal in most instances for any employer in the state to require, or even suggest, that a job applicant or employee submit to a credit check. The law makes the Silver State the 10th state to prohibit employers from using credit information for employment purposes. These credit check restrictions have been a particular trend in the West as California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Hawaii have all passed similar laws.
Like other states, Nevada will ban employers from denying employment or retaliating against employees based on a refusal to let the employer check their credit history. But the Nevada law goes further than most with a penalty provision that permits the state labor department to assess penalties of up to $9,000 per violation. That figure is in addition to any legal relief a rejected job applicant or employee may obtain by suing an employer for damages.
The law does proved limited exceptions for situations where the information the employer is seeking is "job related" or if the employer reasonably believes an applicant or employee has engaged in illegal activity.
Also effective October 1, Nevada will prohibit employers from requiring employees or prospective employees to disclose their usernames, passwords or any other information that would provide access to personal social media accounts. The measure, A.B. 181, will bar an employer from firing, disciplining or discriminating against an employee or prospective employee for refusing to provide such information.
The new law defines a social media account as "any electronic service or account or electronic content including, without limitation, videos, photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, electronic mail programs or services, online services or Internet website profiles."
Nevada is one of 12 states to have passed laws restricting employers from seeking private social media information from job applicants or employees. Nearly two dozen other states have proposed social media password privacy protection laws.