Bill would ban employers from asking for social networking passwordsby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota lawmakers are trying to block employers from asking job applicants for their passwords to social networking sites.
Some public and private employers are reportedly seeking the passwords as a way to find out more information about their potential employees.
Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, is sponsoring the legislation in the House. She told Morning Edition's Cathy Wurzer that companies shouldn't be able to access a job applicant's private information.
"Everybody has a personal life," Franson said. "If you have the privacy settings set to where just your group of inside people can see what you're posting or what you're putting up, well then that is that person's business. Now, if they publicly post it, that's a different story."
Franson said the practice is more common than you may think.
"I've gotten quite a few messages from people that this has happened," she said. "During the job interview, the potential employer has asked for their social networking password so that they can take a look, you know, along their Facebook page and see what kind of a person they may be potentially hiring for their company."
The legislation does not prohibit employers from monitoring the email or social networking behavior of employees already in the workplace, Franson said.
Franson said it's too late in the legislative session to pass a stand-alone bill, so she's hoping to attach her social network privacy bill to another piece of legislation. Similar bills have been introduced in California, Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois.
- Morning Edition, 03/28/2012, 8:25 a.m.