A few weeks ago, as reported here,
Maryland became the first state to pass legislation that would ban employers
from demanding that employees or job candidates turn over their social media
Could a federal law be soon to follow?
Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of
Representatives that would outlaw this practice nationally. The bill, known as Social
Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA) (legislation / bill
tracking), is broader than the Maryland bill. According to this press release from Congressman Engel, SNOPA not only
covers employers, but also schools and universities.
Although the text of the bill is not yet available
online, the press release further notes that SNOPA would accomplish two
While I agree that requiring applicants to furnish social
media passwords as a condition of employment is, generally, a bad business practice,
I fear that the firestorm about employers supposedly demanding social
media passwords is drastically overblown. The examples of employers -- most
notably the City of Bozeman and the Maryland Department of Corrections -- who have made this
stupid mistake, are old news. Both employers were publicly scrutinized and
shamed into stopping.
So, while I anxiously await seeing the text of the bill,
I will spend my time in the interim hunting
for the great white buffalo who, in 2012, actually demands social media
passwords from its employees and potential hires.
This article was originally published on Eric B. Meyer's blog, The Employer
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