If you’re the type of person who enjoys posting potentially career-ending comments or photos on social media sites, you’ll be happy to know several states are angling to help enable your self-sabotage.
Illinois is now the third state to pass a law that prohibits companies from asking employees or job seekers for their social media user names and passwords. It’s an amendment to the state’s “Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act” and makes it unlawful to “request or require any employee or prospective employee to provide any password or other related account information” about their social media networks.
Employers, however, still have the right to monitor employees’ computers. In other words, this means you’ll have to do your self-destructive Twittering from home.
The first two states to pass this kind of privacy laws were Maryland and Delaware. Several other states, including California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Washington, are lining up to do the same.
Why is this happening now?
Driving this change is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has taken an interest in protecting workers’ First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.
School systems, in particular, have increasingly been digging deeper into the personal lives of their teachers by investigating their social media presence. In some cases, it’s even led to the firing of educators who refuse to hand over their passwords, a practice the Council of State Governments has been trying to swat down.
Interest in this controversy is also reaching the federal level as well. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) have called on the Department of Justice to investigate whether the practice of asking for social media passwords violates the Stored Communication Act, or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
No matter how all this legislation ultimately evolves, you do know how to behave on social media in both your personal and professional lives…right?