Eyes on Legislation - Rhode Island's New Social Media Privacy Law

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Published Date: 07/21/2014


George; Ports

By George Ports


The Employers Coalition of North Carolina (ECNC) was created to give the business community a more focused avenue of public policy input concerning day to day employer-employee workplace issues. ECNC is a partnership of three North Carolina employers’ associations: CAI (Capital Associated Industries), TEA (The Employers Association) and WCI (Western Carolina Industries) and their 2,500 members.


Legislation has been passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly and signed into law prohibiting employers from asking or requiring employees and job applicants to provide their log-in information or to sign into social media accounts.


This new law was modeled after a California law that is considered one of the nation’s strongest social media privacy laws in the nation.


The legislation provides that:


  • Employers will not be allowed to require, request, suggest or cause an employee or applicant to disclose personal social media information.
  • Employers will not be allowed to require an applicant to add anyone, including the employer to the applicant’s list of contacts associated with the social media account.
  • Employers will be prohibited from discharging, disciplining or otherwise penalizing any employee for refusing to divulge social media information.


CAI reported in a previous article (Legislation of Interest to NC Employers) that Wisconsin had already passed a law dealing with this issue and that 28 states have either introduced or have similar legislation pending including North Carolina. The Job and Education Privacy Act (H 846) would prohibit North Carolina employers and colleges from requiring individuals to disclose access information to personal social media and e-mail accounts. This bill, now referred to as the “Facebook Bill,” is in the Senate.


CAI/ECNC has been monitoring this bill closely. It has not moved out of the Senate’s Committee on Rules and Operations since May 20, 2013. CAI/ECNC will you inform you of the final disposition of this and other legislation affecting workplace issues when the 2014 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly adjourns.


To read H 846, go to http://j.mp/HB-846.