Legislation to provide employees and job applicants social media privacy protections introduced in the House
May 3, 2012
Since the Associated Press story in March reporting a trend among some employers of asking for access to job applicant’s Facebook page and other social media as part of the screening process, privacy advocates have been pressing for legislation to limit or ban this practice in a number of states.
Representative Darryl Scott (D-Dover) joined that effort last week with the introduction of House Bill 308. According to the bill’s synopsis, the legislation would do the following:
[ ] This Bill makes it unlawful for employers to mandate that an employee or applicant disclose password or account information that would grant the employer access the employee’s or applicant’s social networking profile or account. This Bill also prohibits employers from requesting that employees or applicants log onto their respective social networking site profiles or account to provide the employer direct access. It is acknowledged by the General Assembly that new technological advances in internet use and social networking require new approaches to protecting reasonable expectations of privacy in personal information.
The bill has raised some practical concerns for employers that can likely be addressed by amendment to ensure that employers are not barred from taking appropriate action when proprietary information has been posted on social media, securities laws have been violated, company resources have been utilized in an improper fashion, criminal or tortious activity has occurred in the scope of an employee’s work, etc.
The bill was considered and tabled for further discussion in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee after a lengthy discussion yesterday during which the Delaware Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security asked for an exemption, similar to that granted in the bill to financial services companies, to allow for thorough background checks of prospective police officers. In the case of the financial services industry the exemption is provided to ensure that federal securities and banking laws are not being violated.
For a copy of the bill, please click the following link: http://www.legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis146.nsf/93487d394bc01014882569a4007a4cb7/8859fd8983efee1b852579cf0077eded?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,scott
Should you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding this legislation, please share them with the Chamber by e-mailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org.