In response to reports that some employers have required job seekers to provide them with account names and passwords to personal social networking accounts like Facebook, state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago) on Thursday got legislation passed in the Illinois House that would make the practice illegal.
“I was shocked to learn that some employers were demanding access to private social network accounts of job seekers, and then turning them away for refusing,” Ford said in a press release.
“Imagine a 62-year-old job seeker who looks much younger, who is then not hired when the employer finds out his or her true age through his Facebook page. This is clearly a backdoor way to learn protected information about job seekers, and it’s a completely unacceptable invasion of privacy,” he said.
Ford’s House Bill 3782 makes it unlawful for any employer to request or require any employee or prospective employee to provide any password or other related account information in order to gain access to the employee’s or prospective employee’s account or profile on a social networking website.
The legislation does not prevent an employer from regulating the usage of social networks on company equipment.
“This is an issue of privacy,” said state Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), a co-sponsor, in the release.
“We need to keep separate what employees and potential employees do on their own time, off company hours. Employers have the right to control how their equipment is used and can view public information like anyone else. But there is not a need for personal information on a social networking site that doesn’t interfere with their workplace.”
For more information, call one of Ford’s constituent service offices: (708) 445-3673 in Oak Park or (773) 378-5902 in Chicago.
Ford will also be appearing on WVON 1690 at 8 p.m. tonight to discuss the bill.