Louisiana Now Prohibits Employers from Accessing Employee Online Accounts

On the first of August, Louisiana’s new law prohibiting and  restricting employers access to  employees’ personal online accounts – including social media (Twitter, Facebook or similar sites), email accounts, or any other online accounts which the employee uses for anything other than a purely business-related reasons went into effect.

The “Personal Online Account Privacy Protection Act,” codified as La. Rev. Stat. §§ 51:1951-1955, states that no employer may “request or require” any employee or job applicant to disclose the username, password, or any other authentication information related to a “personal online account.”

The Act  defines “personal online account,” to include any online account which the employee uses “exclusively for personal communications unrelated to any business purpose.”

This statutory definition includes personal blogs, personal email accounts, and all types online accounts  that are not directly related to the employer’s business.

Even if an employer “inadvertently learns”  an employee or applicant’s username or password, they can’t use that information and access the personal account.

 The law also prohibits the employer from “fishing” for any confidential information in an account.

 The National Labor Relations Board has recently taken a keen interest in employers who attempt to monitor or censor their employees’ social media accounts and has found that doing so may be an unlawful labor practice.

Our privacy is precious, never more so than today. If you believe or have proof that your employer or a company you have applied for employment with has asked you for this type of personal information or somehow “hacked” your personal electronic accounts, contact a lawyer immediately.