Vermont Privacy laws & HR compliance analysis

Vermont Privacy: What you need to know

Vermont recognizes the legal claim of invasion of privacy. Invasion of privacy means interference with a person's solitude, seclusion, or private affairs that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. Vermont also recognizes the right to sue for appropriation of a person's identity for commercial purposes (Staruski v. Continental Telephone Co., 581 A.2d 266 (Vt. 1990)).
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Vermont law now provides protections for employees’ personal social media accounts (21 V.S.A. Sec. 495k). Beginning January 1, 2018, employers may not request, require, or coerce an employee or applicant to:
• Disclose a username, password, or other means of authentication, or turn over an unlocked personal electronic device so the employer can access the employee’s or applicant’s social media account;
• Access a social media account in the employer’s presence;
• Divulge or present any content from the employee’s or applicant’s social media account; or
• Change the account or privacy settings of the employee’s or applicant’s social media account to increase third-party access to its contents. An employer may not require or coerce an employee or applicant to add the employer, or anyone else, to the list of contacts for his or her social media account.
Exceptions. Employers still may ask an employee to share specifically identified content for the purpose of complying with the employer’s legal and regulatory obligations, or investigating an allegation of:
• The unauthorized transfer or disclosure of an employer’s proprietary or confidential information or financial data through an employee’s or an applicant’s social media account; or
• Unlawful harassment, threats of violence in the workplace, or ...

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