Utah Employment Law Letter - May 2013: Legislation: Utah’s new privacy law: Don’t ask employees for their passwords

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Utah lawmakers recently passed the Internet Employment Privacy Act (IEPA), joining at least six other states in prohibiting employers from requiring employees or job applicants to disclose their passwords or user names for personal social media accounts. (California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, and New Jersey have enacted similar legislation.) The new law is clearly a measured response to the increasingcuriosity of employers and their desire to uncover any and all personal information about employees and applicants, in some instances going too far in that endeavor.

What does the law require?

The IEPA, which will become effective on May 14, 2013, specifically provides that employers may not:

• Request that employees or applicants disclose user names and passwords that allow access to their personal Internet accounts; or

• Take adverse action, fail to hire, or otherwise penalize employees or applicants for failing to disclose user names and passwords.

Originally published in the Utah Employment Law Letter - May 2013.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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