Virginia Passes Social Media Law

Posted: April 09, 2015

Social Media Law

Effective July 1, 2015, H 2081 will prohibit employers from requiring job applicants and employees from providing social media account usernames and passwords. H 2081 also prohibits employers from requiring individuals to add an employee, supervisor or administrator as a “friend” or contact to the individual’s social media account(s). H 2081 does not prohibit employers from complying with any federal, state or local requirements, rules or regulations. Further, employers may request social media account information if the activity is reasonably believed to be relevant to a formal investigation or a related proceeding. Any social media accounts provided by the employer to the employee are also exempt from H 2081’s prohibitions. The movement to pass legislation protecting social media account usernames, passwords and access began midway through 2012 following well-publicized incidences of employers requiring applicants to log-into social media accounts during the interview process as an additional vetting measure. Many state legislatures acted quickly in reaction to the strong public outcry, and to date, roughly 18 states have comparable legislation including Tennessee, Maryland, California, Washington and Colorado.