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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 1196

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 02/18/2019 03:44pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 02/14/2019

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to data privacy; protecting applicant's and employee's personal usernames
and passwords from access by employers; providing for civil enforcement;
proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 181.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [181.990] EMPLOYEE USERNAME AND PASSWORD PRIVACY
PROTECTION.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have
the meanings given them in this subdivision.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Applicant" means an applicant for employment.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Employee" means an individual who provides services or labor for an employer for
wages or other remuneration.
new text end

new text begin (d) "Employer" means a person who is acting directly as an employer, or indirectly in
the interest of an employer, on behalf of a for-profit, nonprofit, charitable, governmental,
or other organized entity in relation to an employee.
new text end

new text begin (e) "Personal social media account" means an account with an electronic medium or
service where users may create, share, and view user-generated content, including, but not
limited to, uploading or downloading videos or still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts,
messages, e-mails, or Internet website profiles or locations. Personal social media account
does not include: (1) an account opened at an employer's behest, or provided by an employer,
and intended to be used solely on behalf of the employer, or (2) an account opened at a
school's behest, or provided by a school, and intended to be used solely on behalf of the
school.
new text end

new text begin (f) "Specific content" means data or information on a personal social media account that
is identified with sufficient particularity to:
new text end

new text begin (1) demonstrate prior knowledge of the content's details; and
new text end

new text begin (2) distinguish the content from other data or information on the account with which it
may share similar characteristics.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Employer access prohibited. new text end

new text begin An employer shall not:
new text end

new text begin (1) require, request, or coerce an employee or applicant to disclose the username,
password, or any other means of authentication, or to provide access through the username
or password, to a personal social media account;
new text end

new text begin (2) require, request, or coerce an employee or applicant to access a personal social media
account in the presence of the employer in a manner that enables the employer to observe
the contents of the account; or
new text end

new text begin (3) compel an employee or applicant to add any person, including the employer, to their
list of contacts associated with a personal social media account or require, request, or
otherwise coerce an employee or applicant to change the settings that affect a third party's
ability to view the contents of a personal social networking account.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Employer actions prohibited. new text end

new text begin An employer shall not:
new text end

new text begin (1) take any action or threaten to take any action to discharge, discipline, or otherwise
penalize an employee for an employee's refusal to disclose any information specified in
subdivision 2, clause (1), for refusal to take any action specified in subdivision 2, clause
(2), or for refusal to add the employer to their list of contacts associated with a personal
social media account or to change the settings that affect a third party's ability to view the
contents of a personal social media account, as specified in subdivision 2, clause (3); or
new text end

new text begin (2) fail or refuse to hire any applicant as a result of the applicant's refusal to disclose
any information specified in subdivision 2, clause (1), for refusal to take any action specified
in subdivision 2, clause (2), or for refusal to add the employer to their list of contacts
associated with a personal social media account or to change the settings that affect a third
party's ability to view the contents of a personal social media account, as specified in
subdivision 2, clause (3).
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Employer actions permitted. new text end

new text begin Nothing in this section shall prevent an employer
from:
new text end

new text begin (1) accessing information about an employee or applicant that is publicly available;
new text end

new text begin (2) complying with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations and the rules of
self-regulatory organizations, where applicable;
new text end

new text begin (3) requesting or requiring an employee or applicant to share specific content that has
been reported to the employer, without requesting or requiring an employee or applicant to
provide a username, password, or other means of authentication that provides access to a
personal social media account, for the purpose of:
new text end

new text begin (i) ensuring compliance with applicable laws or regulatory requirements;
new text end

new text begin (ii) investigating an allegation, based on receipt of specific information, of the
unauthorized transfer of an employer's proprietary or confidential information or financial
data to an employee or applicant's personal social media account; or
new text end

new text begin (iii) investigating an allegation, based on receipt of specific information, of unlawful
harassment in the workplace;
new text end

new text begin (4) prohibiting an employee or applicant from using a personal social media account for
business purposes; or
new text end

new text begin (5) prohibiting an employee or applicant from accessing or operating a personal social
media account during business hours or while on business property.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Employer protected if access inadvertent; use prohibited. new text end

new text begin If an employer
inadvertently receives the username, password, or other means of authentication that provides
access to a personal social media account of an employee or applicant through the use of
an otherwise lawful virus scan or firewall that monitors the employer's network or
employer-provided devices, the employer is not liable for having the information, but may
not use the information to access the personal social media account of the employee or
applicant, may not share the information with anyone, and must delete the information
immediately or as soon as is reasonably practicable.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Enforcement. new text end

new text begin Any employer, including its employee or agents, that violates
this section shall be subject to legal action for damages or equitable relief, to be brought by
any person claiming that a violation of this section has injured the person or the person's
reputation. A person so injured is entitled to actual damages, including mental pain and
suffering endured on account of violation of the provisions of this section, and reasonable
attorney fees and other costs of litigation.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Severability. new text end

new text begin The provisions in this section are severable. If any part or provision
of this section, or the application of this section to any person, entity, or circumstance, is
held invalid, the remainder of this section, including the application of the part or provision
to other persons, entities, or circumstances, shall not be affected by the holding and shall
continue to have force and effect.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective August 1, 2019, and applies to actions
committed on or after that date.
new text end