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Bipartisan Bernie Blocking Buttinsky Bosses from Your Facebook Account

More bipartisan fun: Senator Bernie Hunhoff (D-18/Yankton) has recruited three Democratic colleagues (Sutton, Gibson, and Hawley) and four Republicans (Rampelberg, Deutsch, Hickey, and Wiik) to sponsor Senate Bill 123, which would prohibit employers from demanding access to current or prospective employees' personal online accounts.

SB 123 is a good defense of personal privacy in the workplace. Employers have as much business snooping around the Facebook posts you share only with friends as they do crashing your cocktail party or peeping in your bedroom window. Employers are welcome to read (and comment on! and share!) my public blog posts, but they have no right to ask for the password to my blog control panel. Other states have protected workers from such employer intrusions; South Dakota should, too.

Bonus points to Senator Hunhoff for hard work and cross-party hustle. Our man Bernie has secured Republican co-sponsors on eight of the ten bills he is prime-sponsoring as well as on his one joint resolution, SJR 2, which would put a constitutional amendment to fund education with a corporate profits tax to a public vote. Uff da—that's a whole nother blog post in itself! For now, Democrats, keep learning from Bernie on how to look for allies across the aisle.


  1. MC 2015.02.02

    This bill make sense.

    Cory, I am right there with you on this. My employer can have read my blog postings. I encrouge to read my public facebook posts. However there are things I play pretty close to the vest. Unless it affects my work, they don't need access to them.

  2. happy camper 2015.02.02

    Amen: Stop the invasion. Everyone deserves a private life.

  3. scott 2015.02.02

    If any businesses show up to testify against this, please publish who they are. The same with anyone who votes against this.

  4. grudznick 2015.02.02

    Stomp out 1.2.3

  5. Jaka 2015.02.02

    Grudz--hope you also hide under '1,2,3!

  6. grudznick 2015.02.02

    Mr. Jaka. I may have misunderstood this law since I don't know about these computer programs like Facebook. I thought 1.2.3 was about making people give up passwords and name logs to bosses. It is the opposite. I am for this 1.2.3 also. Just don't use 1.2.3 as your password I was told.

  7. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.02

    Cory, that's truly An Amazing and Astonishing Amount of Alliteration Advanced!

    Oh, and Go 123!

  8. CLCJM 2015.02.03

    Yeah, what Scott said.

  9. Bill Fleming 2015.02.03

    Deep 6 123. (1+2+3=6)

  10. Bill Fleming 2015.02.03

    Not my position, just a numerical observation. I don't want to read my employees mail and I don't want them reading mine. So this is one of those 'vote yes on no' deals. (I hate those. They're a lyzdexic's nightmare.)

  11. Nick Nemec 2015.02.03

    Another numerical observation, 1x2x3=6.

    Mind blown.

  12. Bill Fleming 2015.02.03

    Yup. Deep 6. Good one Nick.

  13. MC 2015.02.03

    I understand what companies are doing. Companies often think of themselves as family. They want to find out what kind of person they are hiring. Anyone can dress up and put their best performance for Iheir first date(interview) but is this person a good fit for your company's culture?

    A line has to be drawn somewhere. This seems to be a good place.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.03

    Thanks, Deb! I regret that I was unable to come up with a good synonym for "online" that starts with b.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.03

    MC, I'm with you. As an employer, I would certainly want to know what kind of person I'm hiring and how well that person would fit our corporate culture. But as an employer, I would still accept that there are limits on what I can know.

    And you know, the only family member I feel I can require to share online passwords with me would be my daughter... and we haven't allowed her to have any online accounts yet, so that point is moot.

  16. mike from iowa 2015.02.03

    Having a company check your background is all well and good,but they have access to credit reports and arrest records,what more should they be allowed to see? A while back there was talk of insurance companies checking DNA for possible disease issues so they could deny coverage or at least sell expensive rider policies.

  17. mike from iowa 2015.02.03

    BTW-I am a firm believer that there is no one who needs access to anyone's credit rating for any reason at all.

  18. Nick Nemec 2015.02.03

    Mike from Iowa, thank God ObamaCare has a guaranteed issue provision. Otherwise, as DNA technology advances, health insurance companies would demand testing and would refuse coverage for a wide range of conditions that have genetic markers and may or may not ever manifest.

  19. happy camper 2015.02.03

    The law would be a good thing but doesn't mean employers will follow it. What's the recourse? I've been asked if I am married by the top HR person at a large place of employment. It's not a legal question but if you refuse to answer you know you won't get hired. In fact because I want to have a regular job some day soon is part of the reason I asked Cory for posting privileges without my name. The way (some) employers screen today is invasive and unfair, but it's the reality.

  20. mike from iowa 2015.02.03

    Nick N-let us hope ACA survives Genghis and the Moron hordes who control all of Congress.

  21. CLCJM 2015.02.04

    Even the current access practices can have detrimental affects. I know personally, people who have had a felony many years ago but have turned their lives around long since but couldn't even get considered for a job that they would do very well in. If the purpose of prison sentences is to be corrective and rehabilitational, then why do they become a life sentence that never goes away?
    I know someone who has applied for a pardon (in Florida) for a felony from 12 years back. He's had no more legal problems since He's been told that it will take them at least 2-3 years to even consider it and they may not grant the request even then. There were some costs for certified copies of needed documents and a lot of paperwork, etc., to apply. I understand why an employer would want/need to l know that but at the same time, there should be some credit given for becoming rehabilitated.
    I do not think they need to have access to FB, email, Twitter, etc. Enough is enough!

  22. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.04

    MN passed a Ban the Box law last year. The box in question is the one applications that asks about felonyconvictions. Now employers can't ask until the first interview. Results thus far are positive.

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