Express-News Editorial Board
Updated Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other networking websites are great social media tools that allow us to keep up with friends, family and colleagues.
They also have created a gray area in employment law that needs some clarification.
At least four different bills have been filed in Austin this legislative session seeking to maintain employee privacy when it comes to their social media accounts.
Employers have other avenues for obtaining information on employers and prospective job applicants. Asking employees to give up any semblance of privacy by turning over their passwords to social media accounts should not be among them.
Attempts by some employers over the last couple of years to require workers and prospective employees to grant access to Facebook accounts have set off alarm bells in the labor force across the country.
Today more than 26 states, including Texas, are seeking passage of legislation prohibiting employers from seeking access to social media accounts as a condition of employment.
Two states, California and Illinois, have passed similar legislation.
All of the pending Texas bills restrict employers from asking for access to personal online account. Two also seek to restrict public and private institutions of higher education from asking for access.
Texas needs to address this type of questionable employment practice. Everyone deserves the right to keep others from legally hacking into their social media online accounts.