Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper recently signed a bill making Colorado the latest state to enact social media workplace privacy laws. Colorado employers need to be aware of these important changes to the law.
The new law, C.R.S. § 8-2-127, restricts employers’ ability to access employees’ or applicants’ social media accounts in several ways. First, employers may not request employees’ or applicants’ social media user names and/or passwords or other means for accessing their personal accounts. Second, employers may not compel employees or applicants to add anyone to their list of contacts. Third, employers may not require employees or applicant to change privacy settings associated with a social networking account.
The Colorado law does not prevent an employer from (a) conducting an investigation to ensure compliance with applicable securities or financial law or regulatory requirements based on the receipt of information about the use of a personal website, Internet website, Web-based account, or similar account by an employee for business purposes; or (b) investigating an employee’s electronic communications based on the receipt of information about the unauthorized downloading of an employer’s proprietary information or financial data to a personal website, Internet website, Web-based account, or similar account by an employee.
According to the bill, the Department of Labor and Employment will investigate all violations of the new law. A first-time violation of the law will include a fine up to $1,000. A fine not to exceed $5,000 may be imposed for each subsequent offense.
To see the text of the new Colorado law, please click here.