CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill under consideration would give employees in West Virginia more protection when it comes their passwords for things like Facebook.

Jefferson County Delegate Stephen Skinner is sponsoring HB2966 that’s already passed the House of Delegates but ran into some questions Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Del. Skinner told committee members more employers, upset over what’s been posted on social media, are trying to get the passwords of some of their workers.

(Read bill here)

“What we’ve started to see in some places, especially amongst sort of hourly workers, is a manager hearing that something being posted on Facebook that slandered them and they’ll say, ‘Give me your password so I can get into your Facebook account,'” Skinner said.

The bill under consideration “prohibits employers from requesting or requiring an employee or job applicant to disclose a user name, password or other means for accessing their personal account or service.”

Sen. Sam Cann, D-Harrison, was skeptical about the need for the bill when he questioned Del. Skinner.

“How many times has this occurred?” Cann asked.

Skinner said he’s heard of a case in the eastern panhandle.

West Virginia is an at-will state when it comes to the hiring and firing of workers. There are some exceptions and the bill, which creates the Internet Privacy Protection Act, would add the password protection.

Sen. Cann told Skinner employers can come up with other ways to fire workers if they don’t like what they put on Facebook.

“So are we really helping anybody?” Cann questioned.

“I think we’re going to be helping a lot of people,” Skinner maintained.

The delegate told the committee creation of the act wouldn’t change employer rights when it comes to overseeing work computers and how employees use those computers.

“We want to make sure the employer has absolute control in the workplace. It’s the out of workplace when it blends in,” Skinner said.


bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • EPMountaineer

    This bill would have given the remaining Young Professionals a positive reason to stay in this old fashioned state. What an employee does privately outside of work, on an employee's personal computer/device is of no business to the managers. If the employee does something bad publicly or during work hours then the employer should be concerned. Under this bill, a company could still see anything and everything an employee was doing on the company's computer/device. If the employee is performing bad at work then fire him/her. Hell, even if the employee is doing good work, but one just doesn't like the employee then one could still fire him/her. However, managers should not be pressuring the employee for his/her facebook or other social media username and password to access what the employee says privately to his/her friends. A manager should have no right to an employee's private account and this bill would have codified that. This bill that was killed by an old out of touch Senator. Apparently the older generations want to be able to force the younger generations to hand over their username and passwords. Once again West Virginia is showing its age...

  • Retired Charlie

    Wait, now we are getting laws based on what one delegate heard about something happening once. Finally we are getting to the important stuff. How have we made it without this law?

  • Brian

    Employees shouldn't be paid to check personal accounts on company time with company resources - teachers included.

    • EPMountaineer

      Employers could still check anything and everything an employee did at work. This bill would have only limited employer access for what an employee did privately outside of work.

  • Hillbilly

    Legislators have more important things to do than waste time with things like this.

    • Uncle Unctuous

      Yeah, personal privacy is a relic of the past anyway. Hillbilly's mailbox and sock drawer are open for browsing, employers!