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NH Legislatiors Katherine Rogers and Peter Sullivan Work To Keep Your Work Out Of Your Facebook Account

Have you ever applied for a job and as part of the job interview they asked you to supply you social media passwords?  Could you imagine if they did?

You do not have to imagine it because it does happen every day.  What is worse is that some  people are being fired for posting comments about their work on Facebook.

In October of 2012 the NLRB ruled in favor of the employee after he was wrongfully fired for posting negative comments about his employer.

“The National Labor Relations Board has found that the firing of a BMW salesman for photos and comments posted to his Facebook page did not violate federal labor law, because the activity was not concerted or protected.” (1)

The NLRB also ruled in favor of the employee after he was fired for comments while off the clock.

“The case—Hispanics United of Buffalo—started one Saturday morning in 2010. That was when domestic violence advocate Mariana Cole-Rivera took to Facebook to complain that one of her co-workers was unfairly accusing fellow employees of laziness. Several other staffers at Hispanics United of Buffalo chimed in to say they worked plenty hard already. Soon after Cole-Rivera and her co-workers returned to work, HUB fired five of them, arguing that their off-the-clock comments had violated the nonprofit’s anti-harassment policy. (2)”

The good thing that has come from these cases is that, time and time again, the NRLB is ruling in favor of the employees right to free speech on their personal accounts.  However none of these cases involve those people who are applying for a job. (It is very hard to fight back against your employer when your not actually their employee.)

Hopefully that will all change. Many states including New Hampshire are trying to pass laws that specifically address the growing concern over social media accounts.

“Rep. Peter Sullivan, D-Manchester, wants to bar employers from requiring an employee – or prospective one – to disclose social media passwords.”

Sullivan stated: “I think it’s better to make a statement at the outset that no, this is not something that’s appropriate.” (3)

The bill’s co-sponsor Katherine Rogers told the NH Union Leader that companies could potentially use Facebook to skirt current laws.

“Many people use sites such as Facebook to update family and friends about personal issues, Rogers noted. The risk is that potential employers could find out information that they are legally barred from asking job applicants about, such as age, race, weight or medical conditions.”

I think this is a fabulous idea. This is a prime example of legislators working to protect the people from potential harm.  Jut think of the pictures, comments, and links you have shared since you joined Facebook?

I look forward to seeing this bill pass through the NH Legislature.

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