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Bill proposed in Minnesota would keep bosses out of your social media accounts

It would be a civil offense to demand an employee give you access to their private social media.
Computer phone

Employers would be kept out of their workers' private social media accounts under a bill proposed in the Minnesota Legislature this week.

The bill, HF1196, would make it a civil offense for an employer to require access to an employee's private accounts, or demand an employee open a personal account in front of them.

It would also be against the law for an employer to compel an employee or job applicant to add people – such as a work superior – as a friend or follower to a private social media account, or coerce them into changing the privacy settings so the worker's posts can be viewed publicly.

What's more, employers wouldn't be allowed to take punitive action against staffer or job applicant for refusing to share their social media accounts or posts.

The bill has been proposed as employers increasingly scrutinize a prospective or current employee's social media interactions and posts.

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It's being sponsored by DFL Rep. John Lesch (St. Paul), who according to Session Daily told the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division this week: "We don’t let our employers into our homes or our bedrooms.

"We should not let them into our digital lives without permission."

There are some caveats in place for employers, among them that they would be able require an employee to share specific content from their social media accounts, without requesting a username, password or other form of authentication to gain access.

The bill, which has a companion in the Senate, was laid over for possible inclusion in a later omnibus bill, Session Daily notes.

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