May 10, 2012

Maryland Bans Employers From Asking For Facebook and Other Social Media Passwords

Arnold & Porter Advisory

Maryland became the first state to legislate against employers requiring applicants and employees to disclose their social media passwords. On May 2, 2012, Governor O’Malley signed into law a bill that protects employees and applicants against mandatory disclosure of social media passwords and other personal account information. Section 3-712 of the Maryland Labor and Employment Code, which takes effect on October 1, 2012, states that an employer “may not request or require that an employee or applicant disclose any user name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account or service through an electronic communications device,” nor may an employer “discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalize” an employee for an employee’s refusal to disclose such account information. Similarly, an employer cannot reject an applicant for refusing to disclose social media account log-in credentials.

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