April 22, 2014

Illinois Legislature Bans Employers from Demanding Facebook Password

On May 22, 2012, the Illinois legislature passed a bill to prevent employers from requesting Facebook and other social networking website passwords from their current and prospective employees. The proposed measure is pending before Governor Quinn for final approval.

The bill, HB3782, amends the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to make it unlawful for an employer to request a password or other account information in order to access a current or prospective employee’s social networking website. Under the bill, employers are permitted to maintain lawful workplace policies relating to use of the Internet, social networking sites and electronic mail. The bill also permits employers to access information regarding current and prospective employees that is in the public domain and obtained in compliance with the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.

Illinois is one of several states to consider legislation aimed at protecting social networking privacy in the employment realm. Maryland, New York, California, and Washington have introduced similar legislation.

Congress also has shown interest in the topic, introducing similar legislation just last month.  Like the Illinois bill, the federal proposal prevents employers from forcing current or prospective employees to turn over their social networking passwords.

The Illinois and federal bills would curb employers’ attempts to access Facebook pages or other social networking sites used by current and prospective employees to elicit information that might be helpful in making employment decisions. On the other hand, in the process, employers also might obtain information that could expose them to potential discrimination or other claims. Tapping into the wealth of information available on Facebook, for instance, can open the door for employees and job applicants to claim employers obtained information about their protected status, such as their religion, disability, and age, and used that information to make an adverse employment decision. Thus, the Illinois and federal bills preventing employers from accessing such information might save employers from the risk of unnecessary exposure to potential claims from current and prospective employees.

It is expected that Governor Quinn will sign HB3782 and it will become law. Employers should review HR practices now and advise recruiters and other staff who interact with employees and prospective employees to advise them of this legislative change and ensure compliance.


About the Author

daniel a. kaufman, partner, michael best law firm

Dan Kaufman is the Managing Partner of the Chicago office, Co-Chair of the Class Action/MDL Team and a member of the Labor and Employment Relations and Education Practice Groups, and the Trade Secret Protection and Non-Competition Team. He served on the Management Committee from 2000-2003 and as Managing Partner of the Chicago office from 1996-2000.


About the Author

Sarah Flotte labor employment law attorney michael best law firm

Sarah Flotte is a member of the Labor and Employment Relations Group in the Chicago office, focusing on employment counseling and litigation. Ms. Flotte’s practice includes defending employers in state and federal litigation, as well as before administrative agencies. Her representative experience includes issues related to: discrimination, harassment, retaliation, employee leave, reductions-in-force, employee handbooks and policies, affirmative action, breach of contract, defamation, and covenants not to compete. 


Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.