Wisconsin and Tennessee Restrict Employer Access to Personal Internet Accounts

Wisconsin and Tennessee join a growing list of states restricting employer requests for access to personal internet accounts.

Wisconsin: Effective April 9, 2014 Wisconsin employers are restricted in requesting or requiring access to an applicant’s or employee’s personal internet accounts. Employers may not request or require applicants or employees to disclose access information or otherwise grant access to an applicant’s or employee’s personal internet accounts. Other provisions of the law address employer access to devices and accounts provided by the employer or used for the employer’s business purposes and provisions relative to an employer’s proprietary or confidential information.

Tennessee: Effective January 1, 2015 Tennessee employers are restricted in requesting or requiring access to an applicant’s or employee’s personal internet accounts. Employers may not request or require applicants or employees to 1) disclose passwords for personal internet accounts, 2) add the employer to the list of contacts that would permit access to accounts, or 3) permit the employer to observe restricted online content. The law does provide exceptions to protect certain employer business interests.

Take Away: Employers with employees in Wisconsin or Tennessee should carefully review their policies and procedures to ensure that they are in compliance with the requirements of these laws.

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