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Employers Asking Applicants for Facebook Passwords [POLL]

CONVERSATION TOPIC: Would you give your Facebook password to a prospective employer? Tell us Yes or No

Did you create a Facebook password that no one can crack? Are your posts and photos only available to your closest acquaintances? Make some room on that list for your future employer, in case a current trend continues to grow.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

More and more as the social media age progresses, employers have been, in some way, demanding access to applicants’ Facebook and other personal page sites – a background check that has been suggested to be an invasion of privacy.

In some cases, applicants have been asked to surrender their site usernames and passwords during the application process. In other cases, employers would request an applicant log-in during the interview process.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Lewis Maltby with National Workrights Institute in Princeton. “People say all sorts of things on their Facebook page that they don’t want the whole world to see, and employers want to get their hands on every piece of information they can about applicants.”

While Maltby said there is good reason for employers to do some internet searching before hiring an applicant, he continued to say there are boundaries.

Student-athletes across the country have found themselves in similar situations, being required to “friend” a coach so their personal page can be monitored.

Maltby said there is an argument to be made that this practice is illegal.

In 2009, the federal district court in New Jersey upheld the verdict in Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group for violations of the Stored Communications Act and New Jersey’s parallel statute.

“You can’t force somebody to give you access to stored electronic communications,” explained Maltby.

While no potential employees would be required to unveil their pages or reveal their passwords, the applicants would feel their chances are threatened without conceding.

“Somebody who got turned down has got to go through the filing a lawsuit so that a court will tell the employer they have to stop,” Maltby continued.

He said he would not be surprised if similar cases continue to occur more and more.

According to the Facebook Terms of Service, such a practice is violating policy.


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