Bill offering employees, job applicants privacy on social media accounts clears Oklahoma House of Representatives

The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill that would prohibit employers from requiring employees and potential hires to give them access to their social media accounts.
by Randy Ellis Published: February 13, 2014
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The state House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill that would prohibit employers from requiring employees and potential hires to give them access to their social media accounts.

“A trend among employers right now is to invade the online privacy of potential hires and employees,” said state Rep. John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow, House author of the bill. “The right of individuals to a certain level of privacy is a value we all hold and my legislation just ensures that we address this new trend and continue to protect privacy rights.”

House Bill 2372 would prohibit employers from requesting or requiring the disclosure of a username, password or “other means of accessing a social media account.”

It also would prohibit employers from requiring employees or potential employees to take actions that would grant the employers access to social media content that is not available to the general public or retaliating against employees or prospective employees for refusing access.

Refusal of a prospective employee to grant access to the person's social media account could not be used as justification to refuse to hire that person.

The proposed law would allow employees and potential employees to file lawsuits against employers who violate the law within two years of the violation. If successful, the court could award a minimum of $500 per violation or actual damages in addition to court costs and “reasonable attorney fees.”

The bill will now advance to the Oklahoma Senate for consideration.


by Randy Ellis
Capitol Bureau Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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