Michigan employers, schools can no longer ask for your online passwords

Mich. House Bill 5523 now prohibits employers and schools from asking for social media account information.

The state of Michigan has joined several other states in prohibiting employers and schools from requesting login information for social networks.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed House Bill 5523, on Friday, which makes it illegal for employers to ask employees and job applicants for their online passwords or account information. The bill also applies to schools, penalizing them for failing to accept students for not providing online account information.

Anyone in breach of the law would face jail time and a $1,000 fine.

The bill comes after media attention in early 2012 that focused on how hiring managers across the country are requesting personal online account information from perspective employees.

Companies, as some government agencies have been doing for some time, are asking applicants to provide their Facebook and other social media account logins and passwords during the screening process. The candidate can say no, of course, but in many cases that immediately disqualifies them from the candidate pool. Some interviewers have also asked interviewees to log in to their Facebook profile during interviews.

Maryland was the first state to ban the practice of asking for online passwords. Several other states, including Delaware and California, have followed suit.

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