However, I do not believe that it is good law to prevent an employer from viewing social media sites, or asking the employee to show his/her web pages. Don't we all want to hire the best candidate? Wouldn't an applicant's writings show a more accurate picture of the applicant? Of course. So why would we prevent an employer from viewing social media sites?
What is also interesting is the text of the legislation, which currently reads:
BILL NUMBER: AB 1844 AMENDED BILL TEXT AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY APRIL 26, 2012 AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY APRIL 17, 2012 AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MARCH 29, 2012 INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Campos (Coauthors: Assembly Members Roger Hernández, Hueso, Portantino, and Wieckowski) FEBRUARY 22, 2012 An act to add Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 980) to Part 3 of Division 2 of the Labor Code, relating to employment. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST AB 1844, as amended, Campos. Employer use of social media. Existing law generally regulates the conduct of employers in the state. This bill would prohibit an employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee to disclose a user name or account password to access a personal social media account that is exclusively used by the employee or prospective employee.
Existing law imposes various duties on employers. Under existing common law, an employer has a duty to exercise reasonable care in employing a person and is required to use reasonable care to discover whether a potential employee is unfit or incompetent. This bill would state that an employer does not have a duty to search or monitor social media before hiring an employee.Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 980) is added to Part 3 of Division 2 of the Labor Code, to read: CHAPTER 2.5. EMPLOYER USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA 980. As used in this chapter, "social media" includes any electronic medium where users may create, share, and view user-generated content, including uploading or downloading videos or still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant messages, or online social networking content. 981. An employer shall not require an employee or prospective employee to disclose a user name or account password to access a personal social media account that is exclusively used by the employee or prospective employee. 982. An employer does not have a duty to search or monitor social media before hiring an employee.
Notice the stricken language. It eliminates the language pertaining to
an employer's duty to conduct a reasonable background check. The
statute itself eliminates the language that an employer does not have a
duty to conduct a social media search. Does this mean that the Legislature
contends that it is an employer's responsibility to conduct such a
search? And if so, why is the Legislature taking a tool away from an
employer who attempts to do so.
Expect this bill to sail through the Legislature. I also expect Gov.
Brown to sign it. Let's just hope this is the end and that employers
can conduct meaningful background checks without more governmental