Employers! No Access to Employee’s Personal Email – Most of the Time . . .

Effective October 1, 2012, an employer cannot request or require an employee or individual who is applying for a job, to disclose a user name, password or other means of accessing a personal account or service through an electronic communications device.  The new legislation prohibits an employer from penalizing or threatening to penalize an employee or fail or refuse to hire an applicant for refusing to disclose this information. 

The law does provide for exceptions.  An employer may require an employee to disclose a user name, password, or other means for accessing nonpersonal email accounts or internet services if that information is needed to provide access to the employer’s internal computer or information systems.

The law further clarifies that an employer may conduct an investigation to ensure compliance with applicable securities or financial law or regulations if the employer receives information about the use of a personal account or website for business purposes and an employer may investigate an employee’s actions if the employer receives information about the unauthorized downloading of an employer’s proprietary information to a personal website or similar Internet site or account.

Md. Code Ann [Lab & Emp] section 3-712

For more information about this new law or for more information on Maryland labor and employment law contact PK Law Labor and Employment Attorneys Rochelle S. Eisenberg at reisenberg@pklaw.com, Leslie R. Stellman at lstellman@pklaw.com or Edmund J. O’Meally at eomeally@pklaw.com or go to www.pklaw.com/practice-areas/labor-and-employment/