California Joins Ban on Employers Demanding Social Media Access

California today joined two other states making it a crime for employers and colleges to ask applicants or workers for their social media login information in order to access their private Web sites. The new laws — one for companies and one for colleges — go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

California today joined two other states making it a crime for employers and colleges to ask applicants or workers for their social media login information in order to access their private Web sites. The new laws — one for companies and one for colleges — go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a state bill that prohibits employers from demanding usernames and passwords from employees and job applicants. He also signed a second, similar bill that prevents colleges and universities from demanding access to students’ and prospective students’ social media accounts.

The ban does not extend to information, including passwords, used on employer-used devices.

Maryland and Illinois both passed similar laws this year to stop a trend among employers in particular from asking for the credentials to peek at prospective employees’ social networks.

The requests were troublesome not only to those asked for the private data during job interviews, but to employment law and human resource experts who say the practice put companies and colleges at risk of discrimination lawsuits if an applicant was rejected.

Brown announced the new laws on social media Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. “California pioneered the social media revolution. These laws protect Californians from unwarranted invasions of their social media accounts,” his office tweeted.

 

 

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Discussion

  • Anonymous on

    Gawd help us. We need a law for everything under the umbrella of common sense. Gotta have more lawyers!!!

  • Anonymous on

    Its not enough that employers are looking at peoples facebook accounts to find out more about the type of person they are, now they want to have actual access to their accounts. This is ridiculous and if any employer asked for my details, i would site discremination practises and threaten to sue them in a heart beat.

  • WildBill on

    The author flunked journalism because you can't "peak at ..." but you can "peek at ..."

  • Anne Saita on

    Thanks for the thorough proofreading, WildBill. The correction's been made.

  • WildBill on

    Thankfully I don't live in California anymore, but what if an employer elsewhere asks for your social media info and you have none?  I, for one, will NEVER join any of these sites because I think they are all useless.  I am perfectly capable of living my life without anyone knowing where I am or what I am doing.  There should be some kind of equal employment opportunity ruling that prohibits discrimination based on the lack of social media participation. 

  • Xander Sherry on

    From the article:  "...to stop a trend among employers in particular from asking for the credentials to peek at prospective employees' social networks."

    My question is:  Has it ever been established that such a trend actually exists?  I recall that a previous article by an investigative journalist couldn't track down actually cases of this alledged phenomenon (save possibily one, I've forgotten) ever actually happening.   If that is in fact the case, then this seems to be a law designed to combat an urban legend.   

     

  • Anonymous on

    It is but due diligence for a prospective employer to request a prospective employee's social media identities -- but to have login information is an invitation for the potential employer to trash, delete, mutilate, deface, and/or defame the individual as well as his friends, family, and colleagues, to steal the individual's online identity, and to then change the passwords to prevent the individual from correcting the misinformation.

  • WildBill on

    Anonymous' post on 10/1 at 6:15 PM correctly states my reasons for no social media.  If you aren't there, you can't be defamed, embarrassed, hassled or otherwise bothered by anyone. You and all your friends and family members will be secure that you were not the source of any online assault.

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