New law prevents employers from accessing your Facebook page

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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law making it illegal for employers to request information to access your Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts.

House Bill 3782 prevents employers from using information that would otherwise be private on social media accounts to screen or reprimand potential or current employees.

A statement from the governor’s office said the new law protects the privacy of workers and their right to keep certain information private.

Bill sponsor and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said the law also protects employers from gleaning information they are already prohibited from asking about such as age, gender, race and sexual orientation. 

Radogno said the law protects employees’ reasonable rights to privacy.

“Employers certainly aren’t allowed to ask for the keys to an employee’s home to nose around there, and I believe that same expectation of personal privacy and personal space should be extended to a social networking account,” said Radogno. 

“Members of the workforce should not be punished for information their employers don’t legally have the right to have,” Governor Quinn said. “As use of social media continues to expand, this new law will protect workers and their right to personal privacy.”

The law does not protect email and does not prevent access to information in the public domain. 

Governor Quinn signed the bill into law August 1, 2012.  The law becomes effective January 1, 2013.