Employers require access to your Facebook

Employers require access to your Facebook

The less than favorable conditions of the economy and the waning opportunities in the job searches have given employers the upper hand and have turned prospective employees into the new victims of cyber bullying.
While it is known that applicants are often Googled and that more than likely their social media accounts will be skimmed through, some employers are choosing to go a step further. Cases have been reported where applicants are being asked to log in to their Facebook accounts during their interview and others are simply asked to hand over their passwords.
The Expert
Director of Career Services at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Christian Ferris, said that this problem has existed but was once “rare” however, “it has recently gained momentum.”
“Back then social media sites were used for recruiting purposes. Many are still using Facebook and Twitter for hiring purposes. The number of companies asking for passwords is fairly small,” Ferris said. “From my perspective, for certain government agencies it makes (See Facebook Pg. 3)
sense, for a regular employer? That wouldn’t.”
Ferris also said, “There are valid reasons why you would want your personal life to stay personal.”
Then there those who wiling accept that in this Facebook the information they put out through social media is going to be monitored by a third party at some point.
The Applicants Brittni Young, journalism sophomore at Del Mar College, “I feel with anything people should be self aware of what they put about their selves out there. The Internet is free game and if you put something about yourself online you would not want an employer to see then don’t do it.” Young said, “Understand the world that our society lives in today, where you can access pretty much anything. You have to evolve with this ever changing world.”
Not all employment seekers are as willing to concede to this request.
“It is most certainly an invasion of privacy, especially if someone is asking for your password. Facebook and any other social media sites should not factor into getting a job or any aspect of the workforce. Facebook should not determine if you’re capable of doing any kind of job. Facebook is your personal life and should remain that,” said Elizabeth Webb, Digital Imaging Technology major at Eastfield College.
Braulio Tellez, journalism major at Eastfield College, said “I understand that you have to be aware of whom you hire and know if they’ve had a violent criminal history or something, but if you’re already an employee and you’re a good worker, why should they worry about your social life. The way you live your life outside of work should have no repercussion on your life inside work. As long as it’s not affecting you or anyone else’s ability to work, why should it matter what you post on Facebook?”
However, at a time where job opportunities are hard to come by, applicants may be more willing to concede to the request. Not all of those seeking employment are at liberty to deny the request that stands between them and the possibility of ending their unemployed status.
A Legal Issue
Director of Human Resources at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Leon Bazar, says that when he worked for the city of Corpus Christi some departments were closely monitored especially social interactions amongst police officers and those working in the fire department.
“If you post a picture and you’re holding a drink or seem like you are inebriated it’s going to create a bad reflection to the people looking to hire you. The language you use on there also creates an image.”
Bazar said that is his department those on the selection committee are warned against researching candidates, “We don’t want to be suspected of any biasing.”
“All a person has to have is a perceptions that ‘I [the prospective employee] didn’t get selected for the position because I’m a minority or I have a disability,” Bazar said.
The following is an excerpt from a statement released by Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan:
“We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s right the thing to do. But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating. For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don’t hire that person.”
Another part of that statement goes into the legality of employers asking for passwords saying that it is “a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.”
Currently U.S. Senator, Richard Blumenthal, is currently working on a bill that would make it illegal for employers to ask applicants for their password to Facebook and other social networking sites. However, there would be some exceptions made for those seeking employment in federal and local law enforcement agencies.

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