In the feature article of the October 2014 issue of DICTA, the Knoxville Bar Association monthly publication, Chad Hatmaker discusses the passage of the Employee Online Privacy Act of 2014.

Tennessee has joined the list of states with online privacy legislation. The Online Privacy Act, which will take effect on January 1, 2015, applies to any person or entity that employs one or more employees and includes the state and its political subdivisions as well as an agent, representative or designee of the employer.

The intersection of public and private information formed by the emergence of new social media outlets has created a number of widely debated legal issues, most notably one’s right to online privacy.

  • Many social media users share private information with a select group of individuals and expect such information to be protected from public exposure.
  • Many employers believe they have a right to access information their employees and applicants share on social media. As a result, some employers demand access to private social media accounts.

In an effort to guard the privacy of employees, several states have passed laws prohibiting employers from requiring an employee or applicant to give the employer access to the employee or applicant’s personal social media account.

Download a copy of the complete article.