By On behalf of The Law Offices of Roderick V. Hannah, Esq., P.A.

Your Florida employer demands your login and password information for Facebook and Twitter. Is that going too far? Employee rights advocates and Florida lawmakers say, “Yes.” Even though legislators in the state are making moves to protect employees from these intrusions into their personal lives, the business lobby in the state is attempting to strong-arm politicians into simply leaving the problem alone. Florida businesses are currently permitted to demand social media login information and fire workers who refuse to provide it.

A new bill would prevent employers from requiring access to Facebook profiles and other online media content that is not available to the general public. That would protect workers whose Facebook accounts are locked down so that only their “friends” can see the information. Employees would also enjoy protection from retaliation and wrongful termination related to the social media access codes. So far, 16 other states have passed similar worker protections.

Business owners are pushing back against the proposal, arguing that the law could hamper internal investigations and perhaps even promote civil lawsuits. In some cases, social media access can provide important information for cases related to sexual harassment, for example. Further, employees who are wrongfully pressured to turn over their information could file an employment lawsuit against the business.

Employee rights advocates say that people should be able to vent their frustrations to family members and friends through private communications. One person likened the intrusion to business owners inviting themselves to your dinner table, where you might bemoan certain aspects of your job — or even assert that you “hate your boss.” Freedom and protection from unfair intrusion must be prioritized for those workers, according to lawmakers.

Workers who believe their employee rights have been violated may benefit from consulting a Florida attorney. These professionals may identify civil rights violations and other illegal workplace discrimination. Clients who want to learn more about their legal options may be able to obtain information from a Florida employment attorney.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Florida businesses can demand your social media logins. Should that be legal?” Aaron Deslatte, Feb. 17, 2014