10/9/2012 California Law Bans Employers From Requesting Social Media Passwords


On September 27th, California became the third state (joining Maryland and Illinois) to ban employers from asking for login and password information to access social networking accounts. The law, AB-1844 takes effect immediately, and bans requests for log-ins and passwords for employee background checks and throughout employment.  A similar measure, SB-1394 provided the same directive to university’s when it comes to screening students.

The law, signed by Governor Jerry Brown last week bans a practice that, with few exceptions, is not actually a common practice at all. A few well-publicized incidents of prospective employers asking for passwords prompted a wide-spread outcry by—well, by pretty much everyone.  As we have opined countless times–asking for passwords is a bad practice. The consensus is that employees and job applicants have a right to keep their private social media secrets under wraps.  I guess I have no problem with law, but just like the state of Illinois, California has much, much bigger fish to fry.

According to the Governor Brown’s press release, “Proponents of Assembly Bill 1844 say this is a common-sense measure that will bring clarity to a murky area of employment law and stop business practices that impede employment.”