BILL TO STOP EMPLOYERS FROM DEMANDING SOCIAL MEDIA USERNAMES AND PASSWORDS

Yee’s legislation will prohibit employers from seeking Facebook, Twitter accounts of employees, applicants

SACRAMENTO – Today, California Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) announced legislation he will introduce to stop employers from formally requesting or demanding employees or job applicants provide their social media usernames and passwords.

The bill comes after a growing number of businesses and public agencies around the country are asking job seekers and workers for their Facebook and Twitter account information and passwords.

“It is completely unacceptable for an employer to invade someone’s personal social media accounts,” said Yee.  “Not only is it entirely unnecessary, it is an invasion of privacy and unrelated to one’s work performance or abilities.”

“These outlets are often for the purpose of individuals to share private information with their closest friends and family,” said Yee. “Family photos and non-work social calendars have no bearing on a person’s ability to do their job and therefore employers have no right to demand to review it.”

Rather than formally requesting passwords and usernames, some employers have demanded applicants and employees to sit down with managers to review their social media content or fully print out their social media pages.  Yee says his bill will also prohibit this practice.

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Lori Andrews, who specializes in Internet privacy, told the Associated Press that these practices even when given voluntarily should not be allowed.

“Volunteering is coercion if you need a job,” Andrews told the AP.

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Contact: Adam Keigwin,
916-651-4008