Keeping employers out of your online life
Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 00:06
On May 25 the California Senate approved a bill that would make it illegal for employers and college admissions officers to ask current or prospective workers and students for the password to any social media account.
This is a positive effort towards keeping students’ and employees’ personal and private information that way.
SB 1349, sponsored by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, has brought to light the fact that some of the personal information that a social media site, like Facebook, may contain information employers are not allowed to ask for on an application such as a person’s religion, age, marital status and sexual orientation.
When an employer requests personal passwords, it is often because they are fishing for unnecessary and unrelated personal activities that has nothing to do with someone’s performance or abilities on the job.
Before this becomes a law in California, the state Assembly must pass SB 1349 and if passed, it will be sent to the Governor for his approval making California the second state to endorse such privacy rights.
For example, I am a person who enjoys a good time out on the weekend with friends to take a break from my daily school and work routine and, yes, I like to have a few drinks.
Such activity could lead an employer to automatically become prejudiced and judgmental or classify me as a drunk and not give me the opportunity to demonstrate what I can do on the job.
The bottom line is that what I do on my own time is my business and if I’m performing well at a job or school all else shouldn’t matter.
Also, as a liberal person, I like to express my thoughts to my closed group of friends on Facebook that perhaps may not be suitable for an employer if they happen to be of conservative beliefs.
If granted access to my personal social sites, employers automatically disqualify me just for having my own opinion of which they may not agree.
Social sites are a way for us to keep in touch and share things with the people who share our common interests and whatever information we set as private, should remain that way unless we willingly want to give someone permission to access it.
I have my own professional website where I post my portfolio, an autobiography and a resume. We should all have the right to choose the mediums to give to employers to look for if they really want some form of connection.
Although many may argue that anything we post online automatically becomes open to the public, we should at least make it our goal to promote laws that try to protect our personal privacy.
A similar bill passed May 10 in the state Assembly.
Bill 1844 sponsored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, would limit the employers from accessing anything marked as private on any social media account.
The state of Maryland was the first state to pass similar laws pending in California.
SB 433 and HB 964 ban employers from requiring job candidates or existing employees to reveal social networking passwords as conditions of employment.
The bill was passed on to Governor Martin O'Malley who signed it into law on April 10, 2012.
Other states with similar pending bills include Washington, Delaware and New Jersey.
Californians should support bills that aim at protecting the right of employees and students.