Councilman wants to end employer requests for social media passwords

Philadelphia Councilman Bill Greenlee.

Has an employer ever asked for your Facebook or Twitter password?

Well doing so is illegal in at least two states: California and Illinois. Now City Councilman Bill Greenlee is joining the bandwagon of legislators who say employers should butt out of employees’ personal lives.

“They shouldn’t be forced to give up their social media account where employers or prospective employers can look into what really is their private business which might divulge their political beliefs, their religious beliefs, their sexual orientation, that kind of thing. And that shouldn’t really be the employers business to know,” Greenlee said.

Greenlee introduced a bill Thursday that would prohibit employers from asking for passwords to social media accounts. He said he heard of job seekers that had been asked to handover their passwords, but it wasn’t clear if the matter was a problem here in Philadelphia.

“I can’t give you a specific example, but I know it has happened,” said Greenlee. “We have heard from people who complained about this.”

Should the bill pass it would be up to the Nutter administration to establish an agency (or assign the function to an existing one) and procedure to take complaints, Greenlee said.

Meanwhile, a bill sponsored by Greenlee on behalf of the administration that would regulate horses on private property was unanimously approved by Council.