Michigan Bans Employers From Requesting Facebook Password
Michigan recently became the latest state to protect employees’ social media presence. This week, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill forbidding employers from requesting passwords to social media accounts, or for penalizing employees for not granting such access. The law states that ”potential employees… should be judged on their skills and abilities, not private online activity.” Violation is punishable by a $1000 fine and up to 93 days in prison.
Michigan joins four other states with similar legislation: Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, and California. The measure also applies to students.
The practice had become so common, that Facebook actually issued a statement condemning it and threatening legal action.
While laws are belatedly catching up in this arena, it’s still best to ere on the side of caution and just be careful with what you can post online and who can see it.
Also, no matter how many protections are applied, it’s likely that actions and statements that demonstrably affect how a person can perform their job will always be legal grounds for discipline or dismissal.
What do you think? Should more states follow Michigan’s lead?