February 8, 2016

Bill bans employers from asking for passwords

A proposal at the state Capitol would ban Wisconsin employers from asking workers or job applicants to hand over their usernames and passwords for social media and personal e-mail accounts.

State Representatives Gary Bies (R-Sister Bay) and Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) are offering the bill, which Sargent says is in response to concerns raised to her by students currently looking for jobs. The Madison Democrat says such requests go too far and the measure would offer a “reasonable protection” of personal privacy.

AUDIO: Rep. Melissa Sargent (:06)

Sargent says potential employers could still check out an applicant’s social media accounts, but could only look for anything the general public can access. She says the bill is not just about helping job seekers, but those they might be communicating with through those accounts.

Similar laws are already in place in six states, while 28 others are considering proposals similar to the one from Sargent and Bies.

Mike Kemmeter, WHBY

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