Tag Archives: Privacy

International Data Privacy Day Celebrated on January 28

Data Privacy Day (DPD) is an international holiday celebrated annually on January 28 in the United States, Canada, and 27 European countries in an effort to empower and educate people on protecting their privacy, controlling their digital footprints, and making the protection of data a great priority in their lives. To learn more about DPD, visit http://www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/about. Continue reading

New Jersey Limits Ability of Employers to Access Social Media Accounts of Employees and Job Applicants

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed into law Assembly Bill A2878/S1915 that limits the ability of employers to require employees and job applicants to disclose user names, passwords, or other means for accessing social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter or other services through electronic communications devices. The full text of New Jersey Assembly Bill A2878/S1915 – which takes effect December 1, 2013 – is available at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/A3000/2878_R4.PDF. Continue reading

Social Media Password Privacy Laws Passed in Several US States in Recent Months

Legislation has been introduced or is pending in at least 36 states so far in 2013 to prevent employers from requesting usernames and passwords to social media websites and personal Internet accounts of employees and job applicants, according the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Eight states – Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington – have enacted such legislation in 2013. A current list of all social media password privacy legislation is available at http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/telecom/employer-access-to-social-media-passwords-2013.aspx. Continue reading

New California Case Underscores Employers Confidential and Privacy Obligations Regarding Employment Screening Background Reports

A new California privacy case underscores the need for employers to respect the privacy of job applicants and maintain confidentially, regardless of whether information is shared in written form or in conversation. Although the case did not involve background checks, it concerned discussion of an employee’s personal medical condition with co-workers. The case is Ignat vs. YUM! Brands, Inc. filed March 18, 2013 for the California Fourth Appellate District. Continue reading

Social Networking Online Protection Act would Prevent Employers and Schools from Requiring Usernames and Passwords

Legislation currently in Congress – H. R. 537, the Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA) – would enhance social media privacy by protecting users of social networking sites from having to divulge personal information such as usernames and passwords to employers and schools. Re-introduced by Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), and Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY-11), SNOPA would protect employees, job applicants, students, and people facing disciplinary action from being required to give information used to access online accounts. The full text of the SNOPA legislation is available at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr537/text. Continue reading

New York Social Security Number Protection Law Amendment Allows Employers to Request SSN for Background Checks

New York law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in August 2012 that amended the state’s 2008 Social Security Number Protection Law has caused some concern for New York employers conducting background checks. However, a review of the law demonstrates that when it comes to background checks conducted under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state law, the law does not impede an employer’s ability to utilize a Social Security number (SSN). Continue reading

Legislation to Prevent Employers from Requesting Social Media Passwords Introduced or Pending in 28 States

At least 28 states have legislation that has been introduced or is pending in 2013 to prevent employers from requesting usernames and passwords to various social media and personal Internet accounts of employees and job applicants to get or keep a job, according the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). A list of legislation regarding employer access to social media information as of February 15, 2013 is available on the NCSL website at http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/telecom/employer-access-to-social-media-passwords-2013.aspx. Continue reading

Dangers of Using Social Network Sites to Screen Job Applicants Reviewed in Audio Conference on January 29

To review the potential dangers employers face using so-called “social media background checks,” Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), will participate in a live 90 minute audio conference ‘Screening Applicants Using Social Networking Sites: Legal or Liability?’ on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST. To register for the event presented with education services provider Lorman, visit http://www.lorman.com/audio-conference/390956. Continue reading

New Privacy Laws for Collection and Use of Personal Data of Consumers Focus on Background Checks

In an effort to create stronger privacy protections for consumers, several states passed laws in 2012 regarding the collection and use of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of applicants and employees by employers during background checks, or had important privacy regulations passed in previous years take effect. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is requiring nine data broker companies that collect and sell personal information of consumers to reveal their privacy practices or lack thereof. The increased regulations for greater privacy protections for data collected during background checks is Trend Number 4 of the 6th Annual ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ available at http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends-for-2013.php. Continue reading

Offshoring Personal Data of Americans to Foreign Countries for Background Checks Opposed by Many US Screening Firms

When applicants in the United States apply for jobs, they usually undergo a background check using a disclosure and consent form required by law where they provide Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”) such as name, date of birth, and Social Security number (“SSN”).  What many job applicants and employers do not know is that certain U.S. background check firms “offshore” PII to foreign call centers and data processing locations beyond the protection of U.S. privacy and identity theft laws. However, many screening companies oppose the practice of “offshoring” out of concern that the practice provides little protection against identity theft and loss of privacy. The controversy over offshoring and employer concerns about the process is Trend Number 5 of the 6th Annual ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ available at http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends-for-2013.php. Continue reading