is it legal for employers to ask for social media handles in job application or pre-employment forms? If it is unrelated to the job?

I understand for jobs like marketing, modeling etc. where a large social media following increases the cash flow, in that case it makes sense to ask for the handles as the person will be a face of the company. Hence the request and assessment could be written under job requirement.

But for a position completely unrelated to one's social media presence, is it legal?

Looking at North America and Europe ; Canada, USA, Germany


1 Answer 1


An example of a near-restriction is Washington's RCW 49.44.200, which prohibits an employer from "Request[ing], requir[ing], or otherwise coerc[ing]" an employee or applicant to disclose "login information" for a social media account, or require the person to access the account in a way that the employer can see the content of that account. "Login information" is defined as "a user name and password, a password, or other means of authentication that protects access to a personal social networking account" – so "user6726" is not login information. It would be legal to require me to reveal my SE username, in Washington. The same kind of law exists in Arkansas. California law is different – an employee may not require or request an employee to "Disclose a username or password". Colorado law is similar.

I have no idea if the various state legislatures intended this difference, or if they simply are unaware that "and" and "or" mean different things.

  • "legally be required" suggests that the requirement is part of the law. It would seem clearer to say "I could be required to reveal ... and this is not illegal".
    – user4657
    Feb 11, 2019 at 3:55

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