New law could stop Facebook screening by employers

CREATED Apr 22, 2013

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SISTER BAY - If you don't want a future employer looking at your Facebook page, you may be in luck. A bill being introduced in Madison would make it illegal for employers to use social media sites when making hiring decisions.

The bill was written by a state Democrat, but has bi-partisan support, including Republican Rep. Garey Bies of Sister Bay, who insists it’s time to end what some call a form of social media discrimination.

UWGB education major Christy Vincent uses Facebook daily, is aware potential employers could see everything she posts.

"I do not necessarily agree with them going in, asking for your password and going in to your account because I believe that they see enough with the pictures they can tell enough of what you do,” Vincent said.

Rep. Bies says a bill he is co-sponsoring would make it illegal for employer, landlords, even colleges to use what you post on social media sites like Facebook against you.

"If they do have access to it may not be the total picture it doesn't give the total explanation a lot of stuff is easily taken out of context and to make a decision on that I just think is wrong,” Bies said.

Opponents of the bill say employers should be able check social media sites of prospective employees, especially if the job-seeker will be representing the company in a public way.

Either way, it’s a law legal experts say will be difficult to enforce.

Similar laws were passed in several states, including Illinois and California. Proposals in 14 other states were defeated. Wisconsin is one of 28 states currently considering changing the law.