Monday, April 30, 2012

SNOPA - Proposed Federal Legislation on Employer Social Networking Password Requests

I try to get out . . . but just keep getting sucked back in. The firestorm over employers requesting employees' (or job applicants') Facebook passwords just won't die. Now, Congressman Engel (D-NY) has introduced the Social Networking Online Protection Act ("SNOPA") (HT Eric Meyer). Let's break this thing down:

Who's Protected? - Employees and applicants.

What's Protected? - "[U]ser name, password, or any other means for accessing a private email account . . . or [a] personal account . . . on any social networking website."

What's Prohibited? - The employer can't "discharge, discipline, discriminate against in any manner, or deny employment or promotion to, or threaten to take any such action against" an employee/applicant who refuses to hand over the protected information. There's also an anti-retaliation provision that prohibits the same actions against an individual who files a complaint, institutes a proceeding, or testifies (or is about to testify) in any such proceeding.

Or Else What? - Up to $10,000 in civil penalties, and/or injunctive relief (filed by Secretary of Labor in U.S. District Court).

Anything Else? - Yeah, there are also similar provisions for colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools.

You can read the legislation, embedded below (or click here to view online):

Image: Facebook logo used in commentary on Facebook.

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