Social Media Privacy Bill Making Its Way Through Florida Senate

The type of activity we have on social media will either keep us in the bread line or take us out of it. In essence, companies vet our social media activity when we apply for most jobs.

So that vulgar MEME you posted or that song on YouTube that you wanted everyone of your followers to hear may be the reason why your phone never rang after you had such an awesome interview.

To many, your personal and private time should remain as such, private. Unfortunately, its not, which is why companies judge your character based off of your social media footprint.

That’s why Senator Jeff Clemens is trying to give you a piece of your privacy back. SB 198 would prohibit “an employer from requesting access to a social media account of an employee or prospective employee.”

It would also disavow employers from “taking retaliatory personnel action” if an employee does not give access to his or her social media account.

While this bill will have its fair share of supporters, I’m also sure it will have a grand number of detractors.

The language embedded in the bill banning employers from taking retaliatory personnel action will be debated. Many organizations require their employees to refrain from posting inflammatory things about the company via social media. Costco Wholesale has this type of social media policy.

“Employees should be aware that statements posted electronically (such as online message boards or discussion groups) that damage the Company, defame any individual or damage any person’s reputation, or violate the policies outlines in the Costco Employee Agreement, may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.”

Is that too broad of a policy and does it encroach upon an employee’s right to privacy? Venting on Facebook or Twitter after a rather stressful day at work may be cathartic for some, but what if the comments skew too negative or paint an organization in a bad light?

Will the company have no ability to discipline for a potential inflammatory act?

SB 198 is on the committee agenda for Commerce and Tourism for February 17th at 4pm.

The full text of the Social Media Privacy bill is located here.

-JH

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