Employees wouldn’t have to give bosses the passwords to their social media accounts under a bill in the Hawaii Legislature.

Privacy rights are extremely important to Rep. Matthew LoPresti, D-Ewa Beach, who said he introduced the bill to protect future generations.

“I was probably the last generation to have privacy in my youth that hasn’t been documented,” said LoPresti, who is 40.

LoPresti’s bill would keep employers from accessing their workers’ and potential employees’ social media posts that aren’t available publicly, except under certain conditions.

The bill passed out of the House Committee on Labor and Public Employment on Tuesday. It was amended at the request of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, which sought to limit the scope of special circumstances through which employers could get out of the ban, while also protecting an employer’s right to investigate claims of harassment in the workplace.

The Hawaii Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill. The group said in written testimony that it’s unnecessary because as far as the chamber knows, employers don’t ask for that information.

“This bill seems to be addressing a problem that does not exist, and by doing so places an additional burden to Hawaii’s businesses,” the chamber argued.

But William Hoshijo, executive director of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, said he’s heard of employers using social media to pre-screen potential applicants.

“I think there are young people who suffer negative consequences of what they post, because employers either can see it or someone’s given it to them,” Hoshijo said.

See article on proposed bill here.

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