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Labor & Employment

Bill to ban employer demands for social media passwords is amended to allow limited access

Posted Feb 18, 2014 5:29 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A proposed Florida bill intended to ban employers from demanding workers' social media logins and passwords has been tweaked to allow those demands in certain circumstances.

On Monday, a state senate committee amended the legislation to allow companies to demand access to accounts that are used for a "business purpose," the Sun-Sentinel's Florida Politics Blog reports.

However, the access issue isn't entirely clear-cut, a number of lawmakers and observers on both sides seem to agree. For example, what about access an employer might seek to a Facebook account to determine whether claims of workplace discrimination or harassment are justified? And should a distinction be made between social media accounts that are largely public and those to which the holder has restricted access?

"I don't deny that there isn't some gray area there," said Sen. Jeff Clemens, who said amending the bill would help move it forward.

But Sen. Nancy Detert, who chairs the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee, said the amendment contradicts the purpose of the bill.

"You should be able to say 'I hate my boss.' It's like inviting someone to your dinner table," she said. "Where does freedom stop and intrusion begin?"

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "If worker social media accounts are private, how can financial firms check for trading issues?"

Updated Feb. 19 to correct a grammar error.

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