The new changes to employment law in Nevada could cause new problems for local businesses as well. Crafted to give more privacy to employees, the law prevents employees from being able to request personal usernames and passwords for websites and personal account from their employees.
Once it takes effect on October 1st, employers will need to adjust their policies to the new standard. It will become illegal for employers in Nevada to either require, request or suggest than employees or interviewees (prospective employees) share user names, passwords or any other information to allow the employer access to personal social media accounts. In addition, the employer will not be able to fire, discriminate, fail to hire/promote or discriminate in any other way against employees or prospective employees who do not provide the employer with access to personal social media accounts.
Under the new law, a social media account is given a legal definition. It is considered to be an electronic service or account or electronic content, including videos, photos, blogs, podcasts, IMs and text messages, email services, online services, Internet profiles and video blogs. There is no limit to these inclusions.
The law is extremely details, with fewer protections for employers than similar laws that have been put into effect in other states. For instance, in California there is an exception that allows the employer to ask for personal social media information from an employee so long as the employer believes it is relevant to an investigation of alleged misconduct by the employee. Nevada does not allow this in any way- an employer cannot ask for a password, user name, or any other information relating to social media. However, in Nevada employers can require disclosure of user names, passwords or other information in order to access something other than a personal social media account, such as the employer’s internal information system or computer. In addition, the new law will no prevent employers from complying with any state or federal laws.
In advance of the new law taking effect, all employers in the state of Nevada should take the time to review and revise any company policies and/or procedures relating to social media. If there are not policies already in place that address social media, it is best to create a social media that is in compliance with new standards now. Furthermore, now is the best time to train all employees in managerial and human resources roles not to request any personal logins for personal social media from employees, and not to try and discipline any employees who are unwilling to provide such credentials.