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Job Applicants' Online Privacy Would Be Preserved With Proposed State Bill

Two state lawmakers from Wichita are seeking support for a measure that would limit employers' access to job applicants' social media accounts. 

Rep. Gail Finney and Sen. OlethaFaust-Goudeau both back measures to keep employers from requiring applicants to provide their usernames and passwords for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.  

"What you do over Facebook doesn't have anything to do with the duties of the job you're applying for," says Faust-Goudeau, who represents part of Wichita. "If people are out seeking gainful employment we shouldn't have other barriers keeping them from work."

Representative Finney is also supporting a bill that would ban colleges and universities from asking for the same information from students and applicants. Finney says she understands why employers want to research applicants, but that does not justify allowing them to scrutinize applicants using their personal information.

Facebook has called on employers not to ask applicants for their passwords, saying all users have a right to keep their passwords private.

Rep. Marvin Kleeb of Overland Park runs a staffing service. He says his service doesn't use Facebook to research applicants, and neither do most other employers. The bill will next go to the House commerce committee.