Not surprisingly, the proliferation of employers requesting passwords to access employee social media sites has resulted in a new California law (AB 1844). This bill prohibits employers from requesting or requiring job applicants or employees to provide user names or passwords for their personal social media accounts. (There are some exceptions such as employer investigations.)
California became the third state to enact such a law, along with Illinois and Maryland. In addition to not being able to request or require the passwords, an employer cannot retaliate if the applicant or employee does not provide this information.
While it may be illegal for employers to ask, I strongly recommend individuals be prudent about what is posted on social media. We may be adamant about retaining our privacy, but actions and comments don’t seem to reflect that at all. So little is really private these days! I frequently see postings, which from a potential employers perspective, just aren’t smart. A good rule of thumb is just to never post anything you wouldn’t want the entire world to see.