Rhode Island Privacy laws & HR compliance analysis

Rhode Island Privacy: What you need to know

Rhode Island law specifically recognizes the right to privacy of its citizens. The right to privacy includes the right to be secure from:
• Unreasonable intrusion upon one's solitude or seclusion;
• The appropriation of one's name or likeness;
• Unreasonable publicity given to one's private life; and
• Publicity that places another in a false light before the public (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 9-1-28.1).
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Rhode Island law also allows an individual to sue if his or her name, portrait, or picture is used within the state for advertising or trade purposes without his or her written consent (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 9-1-28).
An employer can be liable for failing to remove a former employee’s likeness from its website, a state court ruled. The employee had adequately stated claims under both the appropriation and “false light” invasion of privacy theories, the court explained (Rompf v. Int'l Tennis Hall of Fame, Inc., 2016 R.I. Super. LEXIS 104 (R.I. Super. Ct., Aug. 25, 2016)).
Rhode Island law provides protections for employees’ and applicants’ personal social media accounts (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 28-56-1 et seq.). More specifically, employers are prohibited from:
• Requiring, coercing, or requesting employees or applicants to disclose passwords or any other means for accessing personal social media accounts;
• Requiring, coercing, or requesting employees or applicants to access personal social media accounts in the presence of the employer or representative; or
• Requiring or coercing employees or applicants to divulge any personal social media account information, except when it is reasonably believed to be relevant to an investigation of allegations of employee ...

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