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Maryland will likely become the first state in the U.S. to ban employers from asking job applicants for their login information to their social media accounts, including Facebook profiles. Governor Martin O’Malley (Democrat) is expected to sign the new legislation that was also supported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The legislation is opposed by the State Chamber of Commerce. Melissa Goemann, Legislative Director for the ACLU of Maryland said, “Our State has trail-blazed a new frontier in protecting freedom of expression in the digital age and has created a model for other states to follow”. The ACLU got involved after Robert Collins, who was employed as a Corrections Officer was required to divulge his Facebook password during his recertification interview. Mr. Collins felt obligated to give his password to the investigator, who then in turned logged on to Mr. Collins’ account and read his private information. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce opposes the legislation on the basis that employers have a legitimate purpose to review applicants’ and employees’ social media messages.

Employers Choice Screening Legislative Alerts are provided as a free service to clients, friends and subscribers of Employers Choice Screening, a division of Diversified Risk Management, Inc. The intent is to provide information of value to attorneys, human resource, security, and risk management professionals. The information contained in this e-mail alert is intended to provide useful information on the topics covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Your comments are appreciated.

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