California-based Employers can no longer ask job applicants to submit their social media user names and passwords under a new bill, which was approved by the State Senate on Friday.
The bill, authored by Leland Yee, will apply to employers and universities with certain exceptions in law enforcement and workplace harassment investigations.
During the debate, Republican Senator Ted Gaines expressed concerns about the exemptions, citing that they aren’t broad enough. Gaines believes that employers should be given a chance to intervene before a suspected harassment case begins to escalate.
“I agree with the intent of your legislation because I want to make sure we protect the individuals’ privacy,” explained Gaines to Yee. “But I have a concern on trying to address early harassment.”
Yee answered, “I understand that. The reality is we clearly do not want employers to go on a fishing expedition.”
Yee explained that social media sites, like Facebook, contain lots of private information, including personal things that employers are forbidden to ask according to law.