A Quick Guide to Social Media Laws and the Workplace

We all know we technically shouldn’t 🙅 be using social media at work, but there are other, less black ⚫ and white ⚪ problems that employees face when it comes to social media.

Plus, these issues can be even more important for up-and-coming influencers who are balancing ⚖️ a social media business with another part- or full-time position. 

When it comes to social media laws, what can your employer request – and what can’t they? Furthermore, what kind of posts can get you into trouble, and what are you protected 🛡️ against? 

Here are some common concerns of employees who are looking to protect ⚔️ themselves and their social media accounts from trouble with employers:

Can a potential employer ask for my social media passwords 🔒?

An increasingly common trend in the workforce is requesting to see – or even access to! – potential employees’ social media accounts.

Since Maryland became the first state to ban 🚫 employers from requesting access to job applicants’ online 🌐 accounts in 2012, nearly half the U.S. states have followed suit.

Do I have to accept friend requests from my boss?

While connecting with your boss or manager on LinkedIn could be a good idea for networking purposes, connecting on other social media platforms could go either way.

If your Facebook page is full of photos from your college partying 🎉 days, you should most definitely purge those before connecting with your boss. 

However, as long as you paint yourself in a positive 👍 light, adding a manager on social media could be a great way to show off your personality and build a rapport!

Can I use social media to voice 🗣️ grievances about my workplace?

As long as you’re using social media to engage in “concerted activity”, which promotes the wellbeing and fair treatment of more than one employee, you are protected under U.S. law.

However, be sure to stay away from any malicious or reckless behavior in order to retain these rights; use social media sparingly and carefully and you’ll be fine.