PENNSYLVANIA EMPLOYERS WILL NEED TO UPDATE EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS AND OTHER CORPORATE POLICIES IF NEW SOCIAL MEDIA BILL PASSES


March 5, 2013

Last month Philadelphia City Council proposed a bill that would prevent employers from legally requiring employees to provide them with access to an employee's social media account.

Highlights of the social media protections afforded to employees or prospective employees under the proposed bill include:

• prohibits requiring an employee to log on to a site in the employer's presence;
• prohibits the employer from gaining access to an employee's social media indirectly;
• protects the employee from retaliation if he refuses to give his username and password, or any other related account information.

The proposed bill does not however prevent an employer from monitoring an employee's use of his corporate computer, email and cell phone for use not consistent with corporate policy. What this bill makes clear is that every employer needs to have a clearly written corporate policy on what is and is not allowed relating to the use of its technology in an employee handbook.

If the bill passes, Philadelphia employers should meet with their HR departments and review their hiring practices and employment policies in general. To discuss this and other employment related legal issues; please feel free to contact Douglas Leavitt at Danziger Shapiro & Leavitt, P.C.