It’s now illegal for employers to ask for your social media passwords in Washington
If you walk into work tomorrow and the boss demands access to your Facebook account, you can now use the law to refuse that request.
The new law, which passed the Senate and House unanimously, also bans employers from demanding that employees befriend them on social media in order to gain access to their respective profiles. Employers may also not demand access while in the employee’s presence, or in other words no shoulder-surfing.
There are a few exceptions. Employers may be granted access — but not be given the actual passwords — when “making a factual determination in the course of conducting an investigation.” The purpose of the internal “investigation” must relate to “work-related employee misconduct,” or instances when workers may be leaking confidential information. This law also does not apply to internal social networks.
There several other states that have implemented similar laws or have pending legislation about this issue. Oregon, which also will soon prohibit employers asking for passwords, also passed a law banning colleges from doing the same to students.
It’s key to note that in section 4.8 of Facebook’s Terms and Conditions, the social networking site explicitly states that:
“You will not share your password (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.”
Under section 5.7, it states that:
Earlier this year, we asked readers if they agreed with the law — more than 96 percent said yes.