By Meagan Dorsch
Can employers force potential or current employees turn over the username and password of their personal social media accounts? California is the latest state to address the issue as Jerry Brown signed bills Thursday prohibiting employers and institutions of higher education from forcing students and prospective employees to hand over their personal social media data.
We first wrote about this issue in April on The Thicket. At that time, the state of Maryland was set to become the first state to enact legislation prohibiting this action. A separate bill passed the House in Illinois, and concern over this practice was being discussed in Congress.
NCSL continues to track this issue and has released data showing that over a dozen states considered legislation that would restrict employers from requesting access to social networking usernames and passwords of applicants, students or employees in 2012.
Four states enacted legislation in 2012 this year, two of which prohibit higher education institutions from requiring students to disclose social media passwords or account information.
As mentioned in the previous post, at the heart of this issue for state and federal lawmakers are privacy and employment laws, both of which could be violated if a person provides passwords to personal accounts. What is your take?