Proposed Arkansas Bill Permitting Employer Access To Employees’ Social Media Accounts Rejected

At the end of March, a bill that would have permitted some employers to require employees to provide access to their personal social media accounts did not garner enough votes to make it out of an Arkansas Senate committee after it passed the Arkansas House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority.

Although Arkansas, like multiple other states, had passed a social media privacy law in 2013 barring employers from requiring employees to give access to their personal social media accounts, the proposed bill would have amended that law to exempt religious institutions and businesses associated with children, such as schools, daycares, and summer camps. The proposed bill’s sponsor claimed it would have protected minors by allowing day cares and camps to more thoroughly screen job applicants.

The proposed bill’s opponents, however, pointed out that the proposed bill would have compromised the privacy of many teens, who often are hired as summer camp employees for example, because the teens would have been forced to give adult supervisors access to their personal social media accounts as a condition of their employment.

This proposed bill would have bucked the recent trend towards state legislation banning employers generally from requesting access to employees’ social media accounts as an employment condition. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, such legislation has been introduced or considered in at least 22 states so far in 2015.

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