Chances are prospective employers are checking you out your public presence on Facebook, Twitter and the rest. That’s a given. But how do you feel about an employer demanding the key to the back door so they can get a glimpse of what you’re really doing online?
Turns out that legislators in a bunch of states were creeped out by the idea.
New Mexico is that latest to do something about it. As of July 1, employers in the Land of Enchantment cannot force – or even ask, for that matter – a prospective employee to give up the goods, at least as far as social media is concerned thanks to new legislation aimed at protecting privacy (though the protections in New Mexico don’t seem to extend to current employees).
Later this month, a similar law will take effect in Washington, where employers won’t be able to demand social media log in info or compel an employee, prospective or current, to accept a friend request from from the employer or loosen their privacy settings to provide the employer with more front-end access to their online accounts.
The push by states to prohibit employers from getting all up in your social media started last year after news stories about employers demanding access to applicants’ user names and passwords. After complaints, some companies scaled it back and just asked candidates to log on to their accounts during the interview.
In April of 2012, Maryland was the first state to bar the social media snooping. That same month, we ran a poll asking if candidates would give their log in info to a prospective employer. Of more than 5,700 participants, less than 60 said they would if they were desperate for a job – the rest responded Heck no! Invasion of privacy. That’s a popular response – so far at least 11 states have enacted laws to stop employers from requesting or requiring access to the social media of employees and applicants, and even more are mulling such legislation.
Here are the states that have already passed laws:
- Nevada (effective Oct. 1)
- New Mexico
- Oregon (effective Jan. 1, 2014)
But remember: Even if you live in one of these states, you still need to be careful with how you use social media check out: