An Act To Promote Privacy in Social Media
Sec. 1. 26 MRSA c. 7, sub-c. 1-C is enacted to read:
EMPLOYEE SOCIAL MEDIA PRIVACY
§ 615. Definitions
As used in this subchapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 616. Prohibitions
An employer may not:
§ 617. Exceptions
§ 618. Penalties for violations
In any civil action alleging a violation of this subchapter, the court may:
This bill protects the social media privacy of employees and applicants for employment.
The bill prohibits an employer from requiring or coercing an employee or applicant to disclose, or requesting that an employee or applicant disclose, the password or any other means for accessing a personal social media account. It also prohibits an employer from requiring or coercing an employee or applicant to access, or requesting that an employee or applicant access, a personal social media account in the presence of the employer or an agent of the employer. It also prohibits an employer from requiring or coercing an employee or applicant to disclose any personal social media account information, except when the employer reasonably believes it to be relevant to an investigation of allegations of employee misconduct or a workplace-related violation of applicable laws, rules or regulations but only when not otherwise prohibited by law. It that situation, the employer may access the information and use it solely to the extent necessary for purposes of that investigation or a related proceeding.
The bill prohibits an employer from requiring or causing an employee or applicant to add anyone, including the employer or the agent of the employer, to the employee's or applicant's list of contacts associated with a personal social media account. It also prohibits an employer from requiring or causing an employee or applicant to alter, or requesting that employee or applicant alter, settings that affect a 3rd party's ability to view the contents of a personal social media account.
The bill prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee or applicant who refuses to take part in actions that the employer is prohibited from taking. It allows a court in a civil action to award a prevailing plaintiff declaratory relief, damages and reasonable attorney's fees and costs and injunctive relief against an employer or the agent of the employer.
The new subchapter does not apply to information about an applicant or employee that is available to the public.
The new subchapter does not prohibit or restrict an employer from complying with a duty to screen employees or applicants before hiring or to monitor or retain employee communications that is established by a self-regulatory organization as defined by the federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 United States Code, Section 78c(a)(26) or under state or federal law, regulation or rule to the extent necessary to supervise communications of regulated financial institutions or insurance or securities licensees for banking-related, insurance-related or securities-related business purposes.