California Assembly Passes Restriction On Demands for Social Media Passwords

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The California State Assembly version of a bill (A.B. 1844) that would block employers from asking for social media passwords from employees or prospective employees passed the Assembly May 10.

The vote on the bill was 73-0, Jaspreet Johl, a legislative aide for bill sponsor and Assembly member Nora Campos (D), told BNA May 10. The bill now heads to the Senate, she said.

Unlike a California State Senate bill (S. 1349), the Assembly measure would restrict only employers, not educational institutions.

The Assembly bill provides: “An employer shall not require an employee or prospective employee to disclose a user name or account password to access a personal social media account that is exclusively used by the employee or prospective employee.”

Companion Bill in State Senate.

S. 1349, which was reintroduced March 27 in the Senate, would prohibit employers and school officials from demanding or requesting in writing that students or employees, or prospective students or employees, turn over social media user names or account passwords (11 PVLR 600, 4/2/12).

In addition, the proposed law would ban employers and school officials from forcing a covered individual to “otherwise provide the institution or employer with access to any content of that account,” such as by forcing the individual to log on to an account that the employer or school official could then review.

Popular Issue Gains Steam.

Federal and state lawmakers across the country have been focusing on similar legislation.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) May 2 signed the nation's first law (S.B. 433/H.B. 964) regulating employer demands that employees or prospective employees disclose their “user name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account or service through an electronic communications device” (11 PVLR 752, 5/7/12).

Meanwhile, a bill (H.R. 5050) introduced in Congress April 27 would prohibit employers, institutions of higher education, and local elementary and secondary educational agencies from requiring or requesting that current or prospective employees and students disclose their user names, passwords, or any other means of access to their private email and social networking accounts (11 PVLR 752, 5/7/12).

Similar bills have been introduced in Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, and South Carolina (11 PVLR 752, 5/7/12).

A.B. 1844, as amended, is available at

S. 1349, as amended and reintroduced, is available at

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