An employment law expert says Washington employers that want to comply with new federal privacy protections for consumers should verify a user’s identity through a social media service before providing them with an employment contract or pay raise.
A company that does not comply with those rules can be subject to fines or other penalties.
The commission has received reports of employers refusing to provide access to social media accounts for their employees, including for the purposes of verifying the identity of users.
In one case, a contractor for a Seattle-area construction company was terminated after failing to comply.
The state agency’s privacy policies don’t apply to online businesses, so an employer could still use social media to verify a job seeker’s identity.
And the commission’s privacy protections do not apply to companies that collect users’ personal data and do not have their own privacy policies.
But in an effort to improve consumer protections, the Washington Employment Protection Commission has recently set out to establish a new set of privacy policies that it hopes will apply to all employers.
DeMilles said the agency is now reviewing applications from companies that want the same protections, but that it has not yet received any.
“It’s a bit early to say if that’s going to be a huge impact on existing businesses,” DeMelle said.
The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, was passed in 1990 to prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
ENDA applies to nearly all employers, including those with fewer than 10 employees.
The EEOC says that because employers don’t have to post information about applicants to their social media sites, they are free to refuse to provide services to people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.
The agency also says employers should not make employment decisions based on the gender identity of applicants unless the person is able to provide a written explanation of why they are choosing not to work for the employer.
The ENDA law requires that employers post their job openings on social media and provide employees with a chance to apply.
Employers are also required to post job openings that state officials have verified are open.