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New California laws may require a review of social media policies

New California laws may require a review of social media policies

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Member Since-29 Dec 2015

Using social networking by workers is as fraught as it's widespread, and generates enormous legal risk for the company. Indeed, companies are wise to take adherence to a comprehensive policy concerning employee use of social networking both inside and out of work

On the flip side, social networking policies are accountable to overreach. The National Labor Relations Board has expanded this right to worker social networking action. Currently, invoices signed into law this past year from California may further restrict the capacity of companies to control employee usage of social networking and need a revision of present policies.

In 2018, California passed a range of new laws affecting the connection between company and worker. Watch Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1001. Although certain parts of the settlement might nonetheless be subject to confidentiality provisions--like the sum of compensation, as well as also the identity of the victim--that the arrangement might not prevent the employee from revealing the details underlying the claim. Another law prohibits employers from requiring existing employees to signal non-disparagement agreements that would prevent workers from revealing information about criminal acts at work, especially about sexual and other kinds of harassment. Watch Cal.

Many social networking policies now need non-disparagement and worker security of the organization's goodwill and business reputation. In light of that new legislation, those policies might need to be revised to prevent a language that might be construed as preventing the disclosure of data associated with sexual harassment at work. By Way of Example, the following language could remain within the boundaries of the new laws while still preventing disparagement:

Use good judgment about what you post and also keep in mind that whatever you say might reflect on the business. Constantly strive to be true in your communications concerning the organization and do not forget that your statements have the potential to bring about liability to you or the corporation. You shouldn't post any defamatory or disparaging opinions, opinions, or announcements regarding the Company, its organization, employees, goods, or clients. Regardless of the foregoing, the coverage doesn't, at all, limit or restrict your capacity to disclose details relating to particular claims for sexual harassment at work, testify truthfully in any public discussion, exercise any protected rights, or comply with any applicable law or legal order of a court of competent jurisdiction or an approved government agency.

Attempting to correct social networking policies can result not just in the voiding of their whole nondisclosure or even non-disparagement provisions, but could also make public-relations headaches and harm employee morale. Make certain to get help from a California employment lawyer before making any substantive changes to your employee policies and processes.

As a company owner, you must understand the do's and performs this hiring procedure to defend the business from liability. With social media shooting over the world wide web, boundaries may become somewhat blurred with what could be asked of a possible worker before devoting them to your business. Knowing exactly who you're interviewing can appear impossible with the current social networking technology. Various men and women create distinct online personas due to their accounts. This makes it look more challenging to have a regulated hiring procedure without understanding who your prospective workers are in and from their workplace.

Social media solitude rights have been introduced to question for several decades, and the people have appeared to demand they have the right to social networking solitude. Though some businesses might disagree or agree, the state of California has appeared to agree that individuals ought to be entitled to privacy in regards to their social networking accounts and whether employers must have access. With that said, the question remains are firms lawfully permitted to fulfill both of these individuals (physical and internet character ) during or after the interview process has started?

California privacy laws generally prohibit public and private companies from asking or demanding usernames and passwords to get any private social networking accounts that workers or possible employees might have. Does California prohibit these orders, but also, it prohibits employers from requesting the interviewee to reveal their private account themselves, also. This does not automatically indicate that prospective hires may post anything they want, but unless they violate any conditions of an arrangement with the company they have quite a lot of free reign with what they independently post.

Breaking Down Both Social Media Bills

These invoices which were generated have different privacy legislation which will protect prospective workers' private and personal social networking accounts from being utilized as a way of an onboarding or conclusion procedure. By law, company owners in the state of California can't ask or need that companies give them private social networking account information unless an instance of harassment, misconduct, or breach of company policy or applicable legislation arises.

It's also important to be aware that if any investigation/situation will appear, an employer remains not able to ask or need any private password info, but could only ask specific content when it comes to the present investigation. These privacy laws set into consideration that privacy rights shouldn't be kept in the workplace but online too. Supplying such a law allowing privacy rights permits for prospective workers to feel secure in their whole life and private living situations aren't being used as a way of whether they could or ought to be used.

But, everyone should be entitled to their privacy, particularly on the internet, where it appears that what's publically filtered. This merely suggests that employers should put their attention into creating interviews more comprehensively to actually have to understand the interviewees and be certain that all qualifications are met before and throughout the interview procedure.

This is excellent news for anybody looking for work, but might be bothersome for businesses who need to dig into the lives of the workers. 

As stated by the 2012 Meeting Bill 1844 that adds chapter 2.5 into Part 3 of Division 2 of the Labor Code, qualified Employer utilization of social networking, companies are prohibited from releasing or penalizing an employee for refusing to present their username and password info to the corporation. Any violations for this labor code section contribute to enforcement action from the Labor Commissioner, such as analyses of worker complaints, hearings, and decisions about such topics.

From the 2012 Meeting Bill 1844, It's also said that social networking includes, but isn't limited to, the following:


Still photos


Video sites


Immediate and text messages


Internet accounts or services

Internet website profiles or places


Disclose username/password to get private social networking reports

Access private social networking account in the existence of the institution's employee or agent

Divulge any personal Social Networking info

Postsecondary institutions can't suspend, expel, discipline, or endanger adverse actions for refusing to offer private social networking account info.

Important to note: This bill doesn't include high school education programs. Thus, a high school student accused of any societal networking misconduct might be requested to give up passwords or username information to the government and/or agents of their faculty.

Since these social media legislation are put into position, companies have been asking themselves; exactly what exactly does this imply for us? In other words, it implies that unless a breach of company policy or applicable legislation happens, it is impossible for them to ask or need personal social networking advice. This will not apply to articles made to business social networking pages. Therefore, with no valid reason for analysis, a worker's private social networking account can and ought to remain personal and hidden accounts by the business itself.

Privacy configurations on interpersonal media can affect determinations regarding privacy asserts. If a possible employee has improper articles on their social networking website with a public perspective setting, then it becomes a 'free game' for a company to look at and query the worker on anything that could be submitted. But, based on the California Anti-Phishing Act of 2005, it's unlawful for a business to fraudulently conceal its identity online in a bid to solicit, ask, or take some actions to induce anybody to supply identifying information. Since California has legislation in place to restrict companies' use of legal off-duty conduct and personal social networking advice, making the hiring procedure fairer because many matters on private social websites won't impact an applicant's standing and thought for a position. Relevant law may also create potential liability :

Once an employer is running a meeting, the information they ask and receive from the prospective employee should come directly and entirely out of this interview procedure. Any background check data ought to be gathered either with a third party business or a worker that has nothing to do with the hiring procedure. In the event, the business gathers or depends upon data from a lawyer's private social networking pages from the hiring procedure the applicant could assert that the business has violated applicable law.

If any info gathered from candidate or employee-customer reports is used to take adverse employment actions the employer should follow measures set out from the FCRA, such as timely pre-adverse action notice of its intention to take the adverse actions and the report about which it's basing its conclusion, in addition to a review of the worker or candidate's rights under the FCRA. In the event the worker or applicant doesn't dispute or correct the data depended upon, along with the employer finally takes adverse actions, it has to provide a follow up adverse action notice to the worker or candidate providing, among other matters, the contact info of the customer reporting agency that provided the information.

Any firm that sees background info recorded online should take the right actions to guarantee that the information accessible is precise as it pertains to the proper individual. Organizations are also obligated to provide applicants or employees advance notice of any negative actions taken based on data gathered from customer reports or other background checks. It's very important that the documentation discovered that may possibly be held against a worker directly relates to the worker, otherwise the scenario may get cluttered in the corporation could be held responsible for false accusations held against an employee or prospective employee; understand who you're exploring and/or accusing prior to making any official statements or determinations.

If it comes to criminal history checks, most firms want to know whether their prospective hires have experienced some problem or run ins with the law before onboarding. This prohibits most private and public companies from asking that their applicants distribute information about any criminal conviction before a conditional offer of employment was made.

Do Not overlook Terms of Service Violations

Company owners and companies should always know about the conditions of agency arrangements which are stated within generating any social networking accounts. Becoming educated about the conditions of support and making certain they are read thoroughly is significant being that many users click on the"I agree" button to just receive the accounts generated without reading via the privacy policy. Each social networking app or website may have different conditions of support that might or might not permit a plaintiff to assert that their privacy arrangements are violated with their (potential) companies.

Usage of social networking as a source for history checks for ways of employment could become really catchy, which explains the reason why the condition of California has put legislation into place to safeguard applicants and employees from this kind of invasion of privacy. Information inappropriately gathered from private social networking pages can be said to have discriminatory results and result in claims of discrimination throughout the hiring and interview process in a corporation. Utilizing websites like LinkedIn and Facebook may offer a business with good details regarding the possible hire, but it's arguable that firms may use such data kindly by discriminating against a person based on sex, race, ethnicity, or other protected classes. California laws protect workers and generally prevent companies from using social networking as a method of displaying and hiring. These laws attempt to safeguard both parties by preventing privacy invasion and illegal or unjust onboarding procedures.


When thinking about the information given in this guide, it's crucial to not forget these laws have been put into the position to create the procedure for employment simpler for everybody to have an equal chance, in addition, to shield companies from liability. 

Even though these laws appear to go to great lengths to safeguard the privacy of workers and applicants, this doesn't follow that a business may not investigate a worker's private social networking pages in the event the worker violates company policy or applicable legislation, and the accounts are reasonably related to legitimate identification. It's very important to consider these laws severely to prevent company lawsuits and make positive the onboarding process goes as smoothly as possible.

This website is for general information purposes only and isn't legal advice or supplied by a lawyer. You need to speak with a lawyer before relying on any advice included herein.