Federal law clearly provides that employers must not discriminate against job applicants based on a number of factors, pursuant to Title VII, the ADA and ADAAA. What might employers find when they ask job applicants for their Facebook password? Potentially sensitive information that could be used in a prohibitive manner when deciding who to hire – such as information regarding disabilities.
The following article was uploaded at EDD Blog:
Friday, Facebook threatened legal action against companies who require applicants provide usernames and passwords so prospective employers can see what applicants and their friends post on social networks. Now, it’s not clear what legal recourse Facebook has if businesses refuse to obey their demands, but shutting down the business’s Fan Page appears likely for violators. This action could cost firms tens of thousands or millions of dollars.
Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer had this to say about employers asking for applicant’s passwords:
“If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends,” Egan wrote. “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.”
Facebook’s stance highlights the changing climate which causes clashes between individual privacy rights and corporate protection. And, without a strong social media policy, firms not only face possible legal action, but lose what is becoming a mandatory marketing channel.