Wednesday, February 12, 2014

House Approves Employee Privacy Protection Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation approved unanimously today by the Oklahoma House of Representatives would prohibit employers from requiring access to potential hires and their employees’ social media accounts.


House Bill 2372, by state Rep. John Trebilcock, would protect the right of Oklahomans to basic privacy, he said.


“A trend among employers right now is to invade the online privacy of potential hires and employees,” said Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow. “The right of individuals to a certain level of privacy is a value we all hold and my legislation just ensures that we address this new trend and continue to protect privacy rights.”


The legislation would specifically prohibit employers from requesting or requiring the disclosure of a username, password or “other means of accessing a social media account;” from taking other actions to gain access to social media content that is not available to the general public; and retaliating against an employee or prospective employee for refusing access.


The bill would allow employees and prospective employees to bring civil action against an employee who violates the law within two years of the violation. If successful, the court could award a minimum of $500 per violation or actual damages in addition to court costs and “reasonable attorney fees.”


House Bill 2372 will now advance to the Oklahoma Senate for consideration.

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