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.
According to the NCSL: “Increasing numbers of Americans use social media both on and off the job. Recently, some employers have asked employees to turn over their usernames or passwords for their personal accounts. Some employers argue that access to personal accounts is needed to protect proprietary information or trade secrets, to comply with federal financial regulations, or to prevent the employer from being exposed to legal liabilities. But others consider requiring access to personal accounts an invasion of employee privacy.”
As a result, state lawmakers began to introduce legislation in 2012 to prevent employers from requesting usernames and passwords to personal Internet accounts – including email, banking, and social networking sites – of employees and job applicants. The following is an alphabetical list from NCSL of legislation regarding employer access to social media usernames and passwords that has been introduced or is pending in at least 28 states as of February 15, 2013. The bill numbers are linked to the actual legislation:
- Arizona: S.B. 1411
- California: A.B. 25
- Colorado: H.B. 1046
- Connecticut: H.B. 5690 & S.B. 159
- Georgia: H.B. 117 & H.B. 149
- Hawaii: H.B. 713, H.B. 1023 & S.B. 207
- Illinois: H.B. 64, H.B. 851, H.B. 1047 & S.B. 2306
- Iowa: H.F. 127 & H.F. 272
- Kansas: H.B. 2092, H.B. 2094 & S.B. 53
- Maine: L.R. 20 & L.R. 1011
- Maryland: H.B. 1332 & S.B. 838
- Massachusetts: H.D. 503, H.B. 1707 & S.B. 852
- Minnesota: H.F. 293, H.F. 611, S.F. 484 & S.F. 596
- Mississippi: H.B. 165
- Missouri: H.B. 115, H.B. 286, H.B. 706 & S.B. 164
- Montana: S.B. 195
- Nebraska: L.B. 58
- New Hampshire: H.B. 379 & H.B. 414
- New Jersey: A.B. 2878, S.B. 1898 & S.B. 1915
- New Mexico: S.B. 371 & S.B. 422
- New York: A.B. 443, S.B. 1701 & S.B. 2434
- North Dakota: H.B. 1455
- Oregon: H.B. 2654, S.B. 344 & S.B. 499
- Rhode Island: H.B. 5255
- Texas: H.B. 318, H.B. 451, S.B. 118 & S.B. 416
- Utah: H.B. 100
- Vermont: S.B. 7
- Washington: S.B. 5211
In an effort to create stronger privacy protections for consumers, three states – Maryland, Illinois, and California – passed laws in 2012 prohibiting employers for asking for social media usernames and passwords of applicants and current employees for background checks:
- Maryland: Senate Bill 433 (SB 433)/House Bill 964 (HB 964)
- Illinois: House Bill 3782 (HB 3782)
- California: Assembly Bill 1844 (AB 1844)
To review the potential dangers employers face using so-called “social media background checks” on job applicants, Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), has written a white paper titled ‘Managing the Risks of Using the Internet for Employment Screening Background Checks.’ The white paper provides an introduction to the risks and roadblocks employers and recruiters face if using Internet search engines like Google and social network sites such as Facebook for recruitment and employment screening. The complimentary white paper is available for download at https://www.esrcheck.com/Download/.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ – is a nationwide background screening provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). For more information, visit https://www.esrcheck.com/ or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.
About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):
Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit https://www.esrcheck.com or call toll free 888.999.4474.
About ESR News:
The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at [email protected]. To subscribe to the ESR News Blog Feed, visit https://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/feed/. To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit https://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/.