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States restrict employers from asking employees for social media info

States restrict employers from asking employees for social media info. Published: 1/7/2013

Social media has become something that employees throughout the United States use every day, and recent legislation has been passed in some states that will no longer allow employers to ask for the usernames and passwords of their staff members.

As of January 1, Illinois and California joined Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and Delaware by implementing such privacy laws. Employees at small tech companies who are using social media accounts can no longer fear that their standing in their workplace cannot be affected by their activity on social media.

According to Reuters, many employees have complained because they were asked to "delete their social media accounts, 'friend' the human resources director and/or supply private login credentials to employers." However, staff members believe that their identity on social sites such as Twitter and Facebook should not be tied to their professional career.

Hiring decisions should not be made with social media in mind
Many small tech companies employ a tight-knit staff who are friends both in and out of the office, as well as on social sites. But it's an employee's choice whether or not they want to befriend their boss and anyone else in the company.

An example of an issue with worker privacy was reported by The Associated Press when job applicant Justin Bassett refused to give an employer his username and password to his Facebook account and removed himself from the candidate pool claiming that would be too invasive.

With these new regulations in place in several states, employers can stop worrying about the social sites of job prospects and only make hiring decisions based on the qualifications of employees. However, bringing on new staff, it's always a smart idea to have protections such as a small business insurance policy.

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