Law Puts Employers on “Limited Profile”

Law still allows employers to view information in the public domain

Illinois employers will not be able to ask employees or prospective employees for social networking user names and passwords under a new law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn Tuesday.

"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 Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), who sponsored the legislation in the state senate.

House Bill 3782 makes it unlawful for an employer to demand access to an employee or prospective employee's social networking accounts. The law does, however, allow employers to monitor activity on work computers and allows employers to use information shared publicly on social networking sites.

It also specifically excludes email in its definition of social networking websites.

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

The law is set to take effect Jan. 1.

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