In this hard economy, one can never be too careful about what they put on the web, and this holds especially true for (would-be) employees.
Here’s a question for you to ponder: Can employers, potential or not, ask you to divulge your Facebook profile login information?
The LA Times is reporting a resurgence in profile-snooping by employers, asking current or future employees for their login information for everyone’s favorite social networking site: Facebook. Before, people were more afraid of their employers finding their drunk photos through Google, but taking login information for Facebook is taking data probing to a whole new level. The question remains: is this legal? The employment attorney Amy Semmel of Kelley Semmel in Los Angeles stated:
“I would argue that it’s an invasion of privacy and violation of anti-discrimination law”
Definitely sounds like an invasion of privacy to me. Imagine if an employer asked you to make duplicates of your house keys. If this were to ever happen, there would be an instant uproar and the business would probably go bankrupt from all the lawsuits.
However, it is fair game if your Facebook information is publicly accessible through search engines, such as Google or Bing. Federal law already has some guidelines in place, stating that employers can do background checks using Twitter or Facebook if the information is publicly available, the employer does not use an alias to gain access to the information, or (in the case the employer actually gains said information) the employer does not use the information in discriminatory ways.
If the future of your employment was based on this kind of coercion, is it worth it?
Facebook has come forward addressing the issue, writing in a note that “we don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”