New Law Would Ban Employers to Ask for Passwords

by Fred Abramson on February 7, 2013 · 1 comment

One trend that has grown over the last year is employers and schools asking for Facebook and social media passwords of applicants, employees and students. If you are an employer, obviously you are worried about what your employees say on social media as it can impact your bottom line. There is no shortage of stories of people who post stupid stuff on Facebook.

However, if you are an employee, the last thing that you want to do is share your Gmail password with your employer.  Remember, if you have a Google Plus account even if you don’t use it (people evidently do use it), your employer can then obtain the password to your Gmail address, as it is the same. We share everything from our intimate social conversations to bank account information through are Gmail accounts. With your Google password, your employer can also review your search history.  Does your employer really need to know all of your dark secrets? As a side note,  see my friend Paul Krasner act below in My Dirty Little Secret which airs on the Investigation Discovery Channel.

What happens if they find out that you are looking for a job? There certainly seems that there is enough of an argument to made that asking for your social media passwords is a violation to your right to privacy.

First introduced in May 2012, the Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA) has been reintroduced in Congress in an effort to bar employers from requesting employees provide social media usernames, passwords, or other personal information.

The bill would ban employers and schools from being able to request or require that employees, job applicants, students, or student applicants provide access to personal password protected digital accounts.

I think that the legislation is positive. It protects the personal privacy of student and employees. It also provides a legal liability cover for employers, businesses and schools.

What do you think of the new law?

Frederic R. Abramson is a business law and civil litigation attorney located in New York City. Contact me regarding anything legal and I will be able to point you in the right direction. 

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