New Wisconsin Law Bars Employer Access to Employee, Applicant Social Media Accounts

Wisconsin this week joined the ranks of other states in enacting a law protecting employees from employers’ snooping into their internet passwords and social media accounts.

Governor Scott Walker signed the new law on Monday.

Dubbed the Wisconsin Social Media Protection Act, the law prohibits an employer from requesting social media login information to access an applicant’s or employee’s social media account. Employers also are forbidden to ask an applicant or employee to pull up their social media account to review the contents on the spot.

The law has an exception allowing employers to review information that is publicly available. There’s also an exception giving employers access to information from devices an employer pays for, and to investigate with reasonable cause the alleged transfer of company proprietary or confidential information, among others.

And the law goes one step further than its counterpart in other states by placing similar restrictions on landlords.

Other states with similar laws against prying into employee social media accounts include Nevada, New Jersey and Utah.

You can get to the text of the Wisconsin bill–which also includes enforcement provisions and penalties–through this website.

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