California Labor Code Section 980 prohibits employers from requiring or requesting that an applicant or employee to:

   (1) Disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media;

   (2) Access personal social media in the presence of the employer; or

   (3) Divulge any personal social media to the employer.

 There are two (2) exceptions:

      (1) an employer may request (but not require) an existing employee to divulge personal social media if the employer reasonably believes the disclosure would be relevant in an investigation of suspected misconduct by the employee, but only if the social media is used solely for purposes of that investigation or a related proceeding; and

     (2) an employee may be required to disclose a username, password, or other security setting needed to access an electronic device (e.g., laptop computer, iPad or cell phone) provided to the employee by the employer.

 NO RETALIATION:   The law makes it unlawful for an employer to discharge, discipline, threaten to discharge or discipline, or retaliate against an applicant or employee for not complying with a request or demand that violates the law. However, the law does not prohibit an employer from taking an adverse employment action against an applicant or employee based on information it was lawfully permitted to obtain.

 PUBLIC DOMAIN INFORMATION IS FAIR GAME: An employer is allowed to conduct a search of publicly available information on websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to obtain information about an applicant or employee.