Oregon Law Protects Social Media Privacy For Students and Employees

Joe Di Bartolomeo
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Joe Di Bartolomeo is a top rated personal injury lawyer helping Oregon and Washington families
Posted on Feb 06, 2014

We have reported on how insurance companies try to use social media account information against a person injured in an Oregon or Washington auto collision. 

Two new Oregon statutes protect students and employees from inquiries about social media information.

The first statute prohibits public or private educational institutions from requiring a student or a prospective student to provide access to personal social media accounts, and prohibits the school from retaliating should a student refused to provide such access. Of course, there are exceptions, including investigations into misconduct, like bullying.

This new statute also provides access to the courts should the school violate the statute. Before filing a lawsuit, however, the student claiming a violation of the statute must file a grievance with the educational body within 180 days after the alleged violation. The person bringing the complaint then must wait 90 days before filing any kind of civil lawsuit in court.

If the student or prospective student obtained a conciliation agreement with the school, or if there was a final determination on the grievance, then the student cannot file a lawsuit in court.  The Oregon Tort Claims Act also applies, and any lawsuits must be filed within one year of the date of the grievance.

A similar statute was also enacted to protect employees and job applicants. This statute, however, allows a prospective employer or an actual employer to view the public portions of an employee’s or job applicant’s social media content. Also, if an employer is monitoring a computer at work, and it inadvertently comes across past were protected information, there is no violation of the statute. Similar to the statute involving students, an employer can request an employee to share social media content, other than passwords or user names, if investigating misconduct in workplace.

Social media affects many legal claims, including Oregon auto collision claims, and Oregon Workers' Compensation claims.  If you have questions about your claim, and how your Facebook or Twitter can hurt your case, call us at 503-325-8600.  We have dealt with many injury and workers' compensation claims where social media comes into the case.