Bill aims to protect privacy of employee's social media content

Fla. Sen. Jeff Clemens pushes bill to keep employee's social media personal


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Many of us have probably had to think twice about certain things we post on social media, but a new bill could protect an employee's privacy from a snooping superior.

When things go up on the Internet, they rarely come down. It's a concern for one lawmaker who wants to make sure what people post on their personal social media pages can't be looked at by a potential boss and keep them from getting or keeping a job.

Sen. Jeff Clemens is pushing a bill that would help employees or potential employees keep their personal social media personal.

"There have been a lot of documented incidents, especially in other states, of abuse -- employers denying jobs to people who wouldn't allow them access to their own social media," said Clemens, D-Palm Beach County.

Clemens' bill would make it illegal for an employer to demand passwords and usernames to social media accounts.

"It makes good sense to me. There's good reasons for an employer or a prospective employer to do background checks and things of that nature, but we need to draw the line when it comes to privacy of your social media accounts," said Clemens.

The bill would still allow employers to search for a potential employee; it just wouldn't give them access to the entire account.

Justin Hancock is a social media expert of a PR firm. He said the potential law could eliminate a lot of gray areas.

"Employers shouldn't be asking for passwords in the first place," said Hancock. "Personally, if I was interviewing and I was asked, that would raise a red flag for me."

Regardless of whether or not an employer would have access, it's a smart idea to monitor what info you put out to the world.

"People are out there watching. We should be smart about what we put up," said Clemens.

If the idea becomes law, employees whose privacy was violated would be entitled to $500 or more.

Setting your accounts to private is usually the best way to ensure that only people you approve are able to view your posts.