Executive Summary: Illinois has joined a growing trend to protect workers from employers who want access to their Facebook or other social networking accounts. On August 1, 2012, Governor Quinn signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.
Under the law, which is effective January 1, 2013, it will be unlawful for any employer to request or require an employee or prospective employee to provide any password or other related account information in order to gain access to the employee’s/applicant’s account or profile on a social networking website. Similarly, the law bars employers from demanding access in any manner to such information.
Nothing in the law limits an employer’s right to maintain workplace policies governing applicable use of the Internet, e-mail, and social networking sites. Nor does the law prohibit employers from monitoring whatever a worker or applicant has posted online to the general public.