IS Magazine Blog

Employment Laws And Facebook: Know Your Rights

Jan 03 2013

This is icon for social networking website. Th...

This is icon for social networking website. This is part of Open Icon Library's webpage icon package. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Employment Laws And Facebook

California and Illinois are leaders in protecting your social media privacy from potential employers by banning employers from asking for Facebook passwords. Social media access gives employers a peek at how you spend your time outside of the office, and use the information in the screening process of new employee candidates.

California and Illinois lawmakers have passed a law prohibiting employers from asking for social networking passwords from their current employees and those seeking jobs with the business.  This new hiring protocol within the business world emerged when social media became popular with today's internet culture. Businesses found they can research a person's personality, morals, and ethics with a simply click of a mouse.

With Facebook passwords though, employers are making employment decision after they have viewed your pictures, chat conversations, and personal messages. The new law acknowledges that people should have individual privacy with these accounts because of the personal information that is stored on the account, but not shared with people on the social networks.

However, you should still take care when posting on social networking sites because the new law is only banning employers from asking for your password. Potential and current employers can still research social media sites to gain information about you that can be used in making employment decisions. Any information they find on the internet is fair game and only California, Illinois, and Michigan are forbidden from asking for your password.

Currently, only these few states have put this personal privacy issue on their agendas and many believe that citizens should see a federal law build steam this year. New York representative Eliot Engel tried last year by introducing a Social Networking Online Protection Act, or SNOPA bill, but no progress has been made with it since last April.

If the popularity of SNOPA does not increase this year, citizens may see more states stepping up to protect our individual privacy from the business sector by banning employers from asking for your password. Until then, use good judgment on how much information you post on your social networking sites, and how to handle a potential employer if you are asked for your Facebook password.