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Do I have to give my employer my computer password?

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I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this but the other categories didn't seem any better.

Anyway, my employer wants to keep a record of all of the employees passwords (computer and voice mail). This is so that they can get into our computers or voice mail if we are sick or on vacation and something is needed off of the computer or telephone. I do not feel comfortable giving out my passwords to anyone; I don't have any personal information on my computer to hide, but I don't like the idea that someone can go into my computer at any time. Not only that, the passwords are being kept on a spreadsheet on the HR manager's computer so if someone really wanted to, they could have access to the passwords of the entire company. That doesn't seem very safe in my eyes.

Is there any legal documentation I can show my employer to back up my not wanting to give out my password or do I have to give it to them?

Thank you for your help. Oh, I'm in Texas if that makes any difference.



Senior Member
The answer to this is a clear "Yes, you must give them the passwords used" (though I am surprised that their IT department can't just get it with the 'system supervisor' access).

The problem is, this is your password that you use to access THEIR equipment. The company owns the computer, the computer network and the phone systems, not you. And since it is their property, and they can clearly show a need for this information, you CAN be forced to give it to them. (Besides the fact that Texas is a 'right to work' state, making it very easy for them to make sure that even YOUR passwords don't work anymore... if you get what I mean!).

There are extensive opinions and caselaw supporting the employers right and access to THEIR system and passwords:



Thank you!

Thank you so much for your reply. I guess as much as I don't like it, I'll go ahead and give them my passwords. And the links you provided were wonderful and very informative - I will have to read them more in depth now. (In response to the part about the IT department - We are a very small publishing company within a hospital and use the hospital's IT department, so I'm not sure my employer is even aware of how they can use the IT people or if they even would want to since the hospital IT people aren't really a part of our company.)


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