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N.H. bills would safeguard workers’ social media date from employers

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire is considering joining a handful of states that bar employers from asking job appli­cants and employees for their social media user names and passwords.

The House Labor Committee is holding a hearing on two similar bills Tuesday that would prohibit an employer from requir­ing the disclosure.

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Maryland, California, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, and Illinois have similar laws barring employers, academic institutions, or both; and two dozen states besides New Hampshire are considering legislation, says the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In their effort to vet job appli­cants, some companies and government agencies have started asking for passwords to log into a prospective employee’s accounts on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Critics call it an invasion of privacy akin to handing over the keys to the person’s house.

State Senator Donna Soucy, a cosponsor of both New Hampshire bills, said employers can gain access to information about an employee or job applicant through social media accounts like ­Facebook that they otherwise could not legally obtain. She said employers can use infor­mation on social media ­accounts to discriminate.

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