New law to limit employer access to employee social media - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

New law to limit employer access to employee social media

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - If you're on social media, are you connected with your boss?  A new law set to go into effect in Arkansas will limit that – making it essentially illegal for your employer or potential employer to request you as a "friend" on Facebook or other social media sites.  The intent of the law is to protect privacy, but does it go too far?

Many employers are asking for access to their employees or prospective employees social media accounts.  Act 1480 will make that illegal come April 15th.

Most people agree that asking for login information to one's personal social media accounts appears to be an invasion of privacy.

"I mean what's next, you have to give your employer your bank account information too," asked Roger Snook, while perusing his LinkedIn account at Community Bakery in downtown Little Rock.

But even though most agree that sharing login information is overreaching, several lawyers representing several employers went before the Arkansas Labor Board on Thursday, arguing Act 1480 hinders a company's ability to do a thorough background check.

"Someone's social media activity can be a very important, very useful tool in vetting a potential staff member to make sure they're an appropriate person to be in charge with child care," said Wayne Young, of Eldrige & Clark, LLC.

Young mentions other lines of work as well, but the law doesn't prohibit an employer from snooping on open accounts without privacy settings. 

Where the law gains the most flack is where it states, "An employer shall not require, request, suggest of cause a current or prospective employee," from adding them on social media. 

"Anybody can be a perspective employee," said a lawyer representing the Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management.

Lawyers want the language of the law cleared up.

Most people don't seem to have a problem with being friends with their employer, but most say they will probably place them on a limited access account.  And interesting enough, the law still allows an employee to connect with their boss on social media – just not vice versa. 

No word on what the penalty will be if you do break the law.