Sponsor: Bill to Change “Facebook Law” Won’t Pass This Spring
By Jim Meadows
The sponsor of a bill that would change Illinois’ so-called Facebook law to help employers says he doesn’t think the measure will win passage during the spring session.
But State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) said he will continue his fight for the bill during the fall veto session, and beyond.
Illinois’ Facebook law bars employers from demanding access to the social media accounts of employers or job applicants. But Durkin said the law goes too far, by not even allowing a request for access to accounts that are used on the job. The suburban Chicago lawmaker said there are cases involving employee harassment and theft of confidential material, where employers should be able to investigate.
“Now to be able to conduct that investigation, you have to call on, let’s say, the Chicago Police Department," Durkin said. "The detectives have to go over, work up a search warrant, try to find probable cause. And when they get that probable cause, then they have to get a judge to sign it, and then it goes to Facebook Central over an email. And sometimes, time is of the essence. I think that the employer has the obligation, again, to provide for a safe workplace.”
Durkin’s bill would allow employers to ask --- but not demand --- that workers provide access to online accounts that the employer provides, or accounts that employee uses for work. The bill won approval in the Illinois House, but has stalled in the State Senate.
Durkin made his comments Wednesday on WILL AM 580's Focus program. Also appearing on the program was Prof. Lori Andrews, Director of the Institute for Science, Law and Technology at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. She questioned when Durkin's bill would only affect work-related social media accounts.