Can My Employer Ask About My Social Media Information?

The short answer: no. New Hampshire law[1] gives employees and job applicants some privacy protection by prohibiting employers from taking certain actions regarding their employees’ social media and email use.

5 things employers CANNOT do when it comes to their employees’ personal accounts:

  • Employers cannot ask for the login information to any of your personal accounts.
  • Employers cannot force you to add them or any of their employees to your list of friends or contacts.
  • Employers cannot force you to reduce your privacy settings.
  • Employers cannot threaten to discipline employees for refusing to comply with the above requests.
  • Employers cannot actually discipline employees for refusing to comply with the above requests.

However, the same restrictions do not apply to non-personal accounts related to employment. Here are 5 things employers CAN do:

  • Employers can adopt and enforce rules about the use of electronic equipment owned by the employer and can monitor the employee’s use of such equipment.
  • Employers can monitor an employee’s use of the employer’s email.
  • Employers can require employees to disclose login information for accounts obtained and used through the employment relationship between the employer and employee.
  • Employers can access computers and phones provided by the employer.
  • Employers can conduct investigations into possible unlawful conduct or other workplace misconduct based on information the employer receives about an employee’s social media and email activity on both non-personal and personal accounts.

A final word of caution to employees and job applicants: set your social media settings to “private,” because employers can access any social media content that is accessible by the public.

[1] See NH RSA 275:74

If you think your employer has violated your privacy, please contact one of the employment lawyers at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. at 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our online contact form.

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