Yet Banned, Requiring Social Media Information Is a Bad
continue to wrestle with the issue of whether to require
employees and prospective employees to divulge their social
media passwords. Some critics of the practice, including
Owen Kerr of GeorgeWashingtonUniversityLawSchool, have asserted
that surrendering a Facebook password is like handing over
a key to a home.
few courts have issued decisions that provide any guidance
about the legality of seeking social media login information
from employees or prospective employees. In Pietrylo
v. Hillstone Restaurant Group, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
88702 (D.N.J. Sept. 25, 2009), a federal trial court case
in New Jersey, the plaintiffs were restaurant employees
who belonged to a chat group. Access to that group required
an invitation and then a member's MySpace account and password.
One of the restaurant's managers asked another restaurant
employee for her login information for the chat group, which
the employee provided. The plaintiffs brought a civil suit
against the restaurant, claiming (among other things) that
the managers had violated the Stored Communications Act
(SCA). The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded
them, collectively, $3,403 in compensatory and punitive
Ilinois, Maryland and New Jersey have active legislative
efforts to regulate employers' collection and use of login
information regarding social media sites and federal law
may follow. In the meantime, however, the practice currently
is not prohibited. Even so, employers should refrain from
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Application of Zero Tolerance Drug Policy Trumps Wrongful
the summer of 2000, Martin, an Assistant Manager was promoted
to store manager on the recommendation of his supervisor,
John Ferry. That same year, Martin was diagnosed with Parkinson's
disease. Martin subsequently notified Ferry about the illness,
and was advised to keep his illness "hush, hush."
Thus, Martin never mentioned his illness to any other members
of Quick Chek's management team, including Robert Grayczek,
Quick Chek's VP, and Human Resources.
March 2008, however, Martin requested and received a demotion
to assistant manager because his medical condition essentially
precluded him from satisfying his work obligations. On March
17, 2008, Martin injured his back at work. As a result,
Martin's physician advised him to take a Darvocet without
a prescription and prescribed Percocet to manage his pain.
time of Martin's injury, Martin took Quik Chek’s required
drug test. Prior to testing Martin advised about his prescriptions
as well as the Darvocet he ingested on the date of the injury.
Because Martin tested positive for Darvocet without a prescription,
the testing facility reported a failed drug test to Quick
Chek. As a result, on March 26, 2008, Quick Chek terminated
Martin's employment. Martin subsequently filed suit, alleging
wrongful termination and disability discrimination under
the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("LAD").
deposition, Grayczek, VP, Human Resources, testified his
decision to terminate Martin was based solely on the failed
drug test. Additionally, Grayczek testified that in his
13 years managing human resources, the company never made
an exception to its zero-tolerance drug abuse policy.
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