Protecting workers’ privacy aim of Illinois’ new “Facebook law”

Stateline Midwest

Illinois lawmakers have added a layer of privacy protection for workers by forbidding employers from requesting information that would give them access to an individual’s social-networking account.

Dubbed the “Facebook law,” and signed into law in August, HB 3782 also applies to prospective employers and job candidates. It takes effect in January.

According to the Illinois governor’s office, the law’s definition of social networking sites does not include e-mail, and HB 3782 does not prevent employers from obtaining information in the public domain about current or prospective workers. The public posts of workers are not protected under the new law, the Chicago Tribune reports.

However, gaining access to an individual’s user name and password could give employers access to content that a job candidate or worker wants to be private — age or sexual orientation, for example. The new law forbids employers from basing hiring and firing decisions on information in private social network accounts. Illinois is the first state in the Midwest, and second in the country (Maryland was first), to pass such a law.