Bill Barring Firms From Requiring Applicant Passwords Awaits Governor’s OK

By Judy Greenwald

Apr. 11, 2012

Legislation that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants for their social media passwords is awaiting Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s signature.

If signed into law by O’Malley, Maryland’s H.B. 964 would be the first such state statute, said Melissa Goemann, legislative director of the Baltimore-based ACLU of Maryland, which supported the legislation, in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the governor said O’Malley, a Democrat, has not yet reviewed the bill.

Calls have been growing for federal and state legislation that would bar employers from requiring access to job applicants’ social media postings.

H.B. 964 would prohibit an employer from requesting, or requiring, that an employee or applicant disclose any user name, password or other means for accessing a personal account through specified electronic communications devices.

It also would prohibit an employer from taking, or threatening to take, specified disciplinary actions for an employer’s refusal to disclose such information, among other provisions.

Judy Greenwald writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email

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Judy Greenwald writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management.


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