Effective January 1, 2018

Employers Cannot Require Applicants Or Employees To Share Or Divulge Social Media Content

Governor Phil Scott singed Vermont House Bill 462 in May 2017. The bill, which is known as 'An act relating to social media privacy for employees' went into effect on January 1, 2018. It decrees that employers may not require, request or coerce a job applicant or current employee to:
  • Provide a username, password or other means of accessing a personal social media account.
  • Access a social media account in the presence of their employer.
  • Give the employer an unlocked device that would allow access to a social media account.
  • Provide or divulge any content contained in a social media account.
  • Change the privacy settings of a social media account to allow or increase third-party access.
  • Add the employer or another representative of the company to the list of contacts on a social media account.
  • Sign an agreement to waive their rights in regards to social media accounts.

How The Vermont Law Defines Social Media

For the purpose of this bill, social media accounts are defined as accounts with "an electronic medium or service through which users create, share, and interact with content, including videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant or text messages, e-mail, online services or accounts, or Internet website profiles or locations."

This law does not apply to social media accounts that are primarily used on behalf of the employer. There are exceptions for law enforcement agencies that may need to access a social media account to help determine an individual's fitness to perform job duties or to investigate allegations of employee misconduct, policy violations or law violations.

Ban The Box Law In Effect For Vermont Employers

A Ban the Box Law goes into effect in Vermont. It prohibits employers from asking applicants if they have criminal records on job applications unless:
  • The person is applying to a position for which federal or state laws automatically disqualify individuals with one or more types of criminal offenses.
  • Federal or state law disallows employers from hiring individuals who have been convicted of certain types of criminal offenses.
  • Question(s) on the application are specifically about the type of criminal offenses that create disqualifications.
Employers may ask about criminal convictions during an interview or via a criminal background investigation. If an applicant has a criminal conviction but is still eligible for the position under applicable law, the individual must have an opportunity to explain the circumstances of their conviction. Employers can be fined up to $100 for each violation of this law.
Backgrounds Online provides details about State Laws for informational purposes only. We do not provide legal services. Nothing on these pages or our site should be considered as legal advice or opinion.