On Wednesday, April 11, Maryland became the first state to enact a new bill prohibiting employers from requesting usernames and passwords for social media sites like Facebook. This law helps protect both employees and current job applicants from having companies infringe on their privacy.
The use of the internet has created all kinds of benefits for society but it has also created unique problems that people never had to deal with in the past. In regards to employment, there have been many changes in how people search for internships and jobs and the kind of information that employers and applicants can gather even prior to the first Interview.
In 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was passed which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This Act protected Americans from having employers discriminate them on factors that had no relation to the job.
Having someone's social media site such as Facebook accessible to employers is also a violation of privacy and can open employers up for future allegations on discrimination in the workplace.
It's important to know that even though in most states it is not illegal for an employer to ask for your password, it is just not good practice for them to do so. It's important to be prepared on what you can say should an employer ask you to reveal your personal information.