Washington Privacy laws & HR compliance analysis

Washington Privacy: What you need to know

Washington’s state constitution includes an express right to privacy: “No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.” Washington also recognizes all four common-law invasion-of-privacy claims:
• Intrusion upon solitude or seclusion;
• Public disclosure of private facts (e.g., unreasonable publicity given to one's private life);
• False light privacy (e.g., publicity that normally places the other in a false light before the public); and
• Appropriation of one's name or likeness (Eastwood v. Cascade Broad. Co., 722 P.2d 1295 (Wash. 1986)).
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Washington law provides protections for employees’ personal social networking accounts (WA Code Sec. 49.44.200). More specifically, employers are prohibited from:
• Requesting, requiring, or otherwise coercing employees or applicants to disclose log-in information for their personal social networking accounts;
• Requesting, requiring, or otherwise coercing employees or applicants to access their personal social networking accounts in the employer’s presence in a way that allows the employer to observe the account’s contents;
• Compelling or coercing employees or applicants to add an individual (including the employer) to the list of contacts associated with their personal social networking accounts;
• Requesting, requiring, or causing employees or applicants to change the settings on their accounts that affect a third party’s ability to view the account’s contents; or
• Taking adverse action against employees or applicants (by discharging, disciplining, penalizing, or threatening to do so or by failing or refusing to hire applicants) because they refuse to disclose their log-in information, ...

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