What Colorado Employers Can and Cannot Do With Employees’ Internet Access

By now, most Colorado employers know that they cannot look at an applicant or employee’s Facebook page to see if they would like to hire the applicant or retain the employee. As with all laws, the trick is in making sure to understand the law in its entirety. This list of what is lawful and what is not will help guide you in what is acceptable and what is not.

Lawful Actions:

  • Conducting an investigation – when an employer must ensure compliance with applicable securities or financial law or regulatory requirements and has received information that an employee has used their personal website, internet website, web-based account for business purposes, the employer may investigate.
  • Following up on information received – if an employer receives information about the unauthorized downloading of an employer’s proprietary information or financial data to an employee’s personal website, internet website, or similar web-based account, or similar account by an employee, it may follow up to see if this is accurate.
  • Requiring disclosure – an employer may require that any username, password, or other means for accessing nonpersonal accounts or services that provide access to the employer’s internal computer or information systems be disclosed.

Prohibited Actions:

  • Asking for passwords – there can be no suggestion, request, or requirement that an employee or applicant disclose any username, password, or other means for accessing the employee’s or applicant’s personal account or service.
  • Asking to view social media accounts – it is unlawful to require an employee or applicant to add anyone to the employee’s or applicant’s list of contacts associated with a social media account or to require, request, or even suggest that an employee or applicant change privacy settings associated with a social networking account.
  • Penalizing an employee for their refusal or failing or refusing to hire an applicant – the employer cannot harm an employee or applicant’s employment or employment prospects because the employee or applicant refuses to disclose any information or refuses to add the employer to the list of contacts or to change the privacy settings associated with a social media account.

If you have a unique situation and are unsure how to handle it, let us know what help you need.