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State Senator Charleta Tavares of Columbus has introduced a bill that would prohibit employers from asking applicants or employees for their social media password. The bill follows a trend started in Maryland and followed by at least 11 other states (plus Congress) that would prohibit this employer practice. Though this type of legislation seems to be “trending” nationwide, the examples of employers that actually require their applicants or employees to turn over their passwords are actually few and far between and do not necessarily merit a legislative fix. In most industries, employers don’t have any real need or obligation to look through anything other than what the individual makes public through their chosen privacy settings. In those limited instances where an employer may have a legitimate need to inquire further — think law enforcement, financial sector and daycare settings, for instance — they should be able to ask applicants for access to their Facebook pages. It’s up to the applicant to decide whether to provide it.

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