Employees’ Social Media Often Off-Limits
In a new law that took effect, Nov. 1, 2014, Oklahoma lawmakers defined employers’ rights when employees are using social media at work. The new law spells out when employees can keep their social media accounts private from employers.
Under the new law, Oklahoma employers are prohibited from requiring prospective employees to disclose social media accounts or to provide user names and passwords to personal social media accounts.
Nor may employers force workers to let the boss look over their shoulder to see what is in a password-protected social media account. However, employees might want to reconsider using social media at work.
Companies May Access Company Computers
Under the new law, employee’s social media privacy can evaporate when employees log onto social media accounts using company computers during the workday. The new law specifically does not prohibit employers from accessing an employee’s social media accounts the employee visited on company computers while at work.
If you have a company cell phone, you might want to think twice about what you say about the company in text messages that could be stored on the phone. Employers may require employees to provide passwords for computers, networks and electronic devices provided or subsidized by the employer.
Employers may also require employees to disclose passwords to accounts the employee uses for the employer’s business purposes.
Incidental and Investigative Access Allowed
Other exceptions to the new Okla. Stat. tit. 40 § 173.2 exempt employers from liability for obtaining passwords or usernames as a result of workplace monitoring technology, but prohibit employers from using that information to access the employee’s social media accounts.
Employers are allowed to conduct investigations related to regulatory compliance or work-related misconduct based on specific information about an employee’s social media activities.
Employers may also investigate specific information related to unauthorized transfer of trade secrets or company financial information. In those cases, employees may be required to share access to social media accounts to allow the employer to determine the facts.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Attorneys
If you have questions about your workplace social media privacy rights, contact a Tulsa attorney at Wirth Law Office. For a free consultation, call (918) 879-1681 or send your social media rights question using the form at the top of this page.