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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Illinois Bill Would Ban Employer Requests For Facebook Passwords

It has become common practice for public and private employers to review the publicly available Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, and others) of job applicants as part of the vetting of candidates in the hiring process.  However, because many social media users have privacy settings that block the general public (or non-friends or followers) from viewing their complete profile, some employers are asking candidates to either turn over their passwords or log on to their social media accounts during the interview. 

Currently, there appears to be no federal or state law expressly prohibiting this practice.  The ACLU and others argue that this practice violates a candidate's right to privacy.  Others are taking the issue a step further and proposing legislation to prohibit this practice, including the Illinois General Assembly.  That legislation, HB 3782, would prohibit public employers from seeking job applicants' social media passwords.  The proposed legislation would allow candidates to file lawsuits if they are asked for access to sites like Facebook.  Employers could still ask for usernames to view public information. 

UPDATE:  3/30/2012:   On 3/29/12, the Illinois House passed the legislation by a vote of 78-30.
UPDATE:  8/1/2012:  Governor Quinn signed the legislation, which will become effective January 1, 2012.

Similar legislation has been introduced in Minnesota, Maryland and California

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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