Social Media, Privacy, and the Employment Relationship: The American Experience

  • Ariana R. Levinson University of Louisville
Keywords: social media, social networking, privacy, employment, electronic communications, hiring, discovery


This article posits that privacy issues arising in the United States from the use of social media and the employment relationship are similar to those that have arisen around the world. It suggests, however, that the patchwork of governing legal claims arising under different laws in different jurisdictions may be unique. After a brief introduction, the second section describes the recent passage of legislation in several states that may protect the privacy of job applicants’ passwords to social-media sites. The third section describes the various claims employees may bring under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, in tort for invasion of privacy, pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, or to enforce just cause provisions in collective bargaining agreements. The fourth section describes protection from overbroad discovery of social media when employers and former employees are involved in litigation. The article concludes by assessing the likelihood of further legal reform.


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How to Cite
Levinson, A. R. (2013). Social Media, Privacy, and the Employment Relationship: The American Experience. Spanish Labour Law and Employment Relations Journal, 2(1-2), 15-31. Retrieved from