California bill may prevent social media workplace discrimination

Many young people are struggling to find employment after graduating from college. An ever growing practice by companies across the country is making it even more difficult for people to find gainful employment. Many companies are now asking for potential employees to hand over their social media usernames and passwords. This may cause some candidates to face wrongful discrimination, and lose a job offer. A new bill introduced in the California legislature may soon make this workplace discrimination practice illegal. The state joins a number of other states in considering similar legislation.

Employers might not normally have access to a candidate's social media profile because of privacy settings selected by that person. If a potential employer has that person's password to their social media, it might not be any different than asking to read their mail. This is seen by many as an invasion of privacy and way to discriminate against candidates because of their private life.

Sometimes companies ask things of potential job candidates that could lead to them not being hired, despite the requirements not having anything to do with the actual job function. When an employer discriminates against a job candidate, it is important that they understand their rights.

When people in California face workplace discrimination, they might be wise to speak with an employment law attorney. They can help you understand your rights, and work to resolve the situation. By taking action against an employer that is unfairly discriminating against a person, other people might be protected against unfair practices.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Job front: Social media privacy bills advance in Sacramento," Darrell Smith, April 30, 2012

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