Privacy Press Release

03.06.13

ACLU Supports Legislation Preventing Employers from Asking for Electronic Passwords

SB 45 Would Preserve the Personal Privacy of Employees and Job-Seekers in Ohio

Read our testimony on SB 45

COLUMBUS- The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio will testify today before the Ohio Senate Insurance, Commerce & Labor Committee in support of Senate Bill 45. The legislation would prohibit Ohio employers from seeking access to the electronic usernames and passwords of current or potential employees.

“We do not permit our employers to snoop in our wallets or mailboxes,” said ACLU of Ohio Associate Director Gary Daniels. “Nor should we permit employers to request the electronic passwords that would allow them to snoop into our email or social media accounts.”

Under current Ohio law, it is acceptable for employers to ask job applicants or employees for log-in information to their personal email and social media accounts. Those who refuse to allow access could legally be fired or lose a potential job opportunity.

SB 45 would prohibit employers from asking for this information. It would also hold employers who violate the law accountable through fines and potential civil action. The ACLU supports the bill in its current form, however they have also asked for revisions, both to clarify the language and to extend protection to students.

“Currently, schools and universities can also ask for access to private electronic information,” said Daniels. “Students need and deserve the same privacy protections as adults.”

The Senate Insurance, Commerce & Labor Committee will meet at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 in the Finance Hearing Room of the Statehouse.