Legislation sponsored by Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, would protect the private lives of employees and potential employees.
Senate Bill 5211 received a 49-0 vote on the Senate floor Wednesday and will now head to the House for further consideration.
The bill would make it illegal for any employer or potential employer in the state to request a password or any related account information for the purpose of gaining access to any social networking site maintained by a current or prospective employee.
The bill also establishes a fine of up to $500 and court costs for violating the law.
“As a society, we are more connected than ever, but that doesn’t mean that employers have a right to read your email or drop by to take a look around your house,” Hobbs said. “There are privacy settings on Facebook for a reason, and demanding access is a major violation of privacy.”
Hobbs said his bill also protects employers. “If an employer were to gain access to an applicants’ page and decide not to hire them, was that decision made because of their friends, sexual orientation, political leanings?” Hobbs asked. “That is a lawsuit waiting to happen.”