Employers Seeking Job Applicants Passwords, Have They Gone Too Far?

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To get a job in today’s economy is extremely hard.  With competition greatly increasing, it makes it harder for candidates to attain the job they desire.  This is especially prevalent for students like me, who will be graduating University and looking for a job in the near future.

So what would you do if you got a dream job interview, and as the interview goes on your prospective employer digs a little deeper and requests your Facebook password to background check you. Would you say no? Or in fear of losing this dream job would you say yes, thinking that if you do you’ll get the job?

Facebook is adamant about keeping their members privacy however this controversy is beyond Facebook’s control.  We are all aware that when we come across a prospective job and apply for it, more often than not employers will search for you on social media sites to see what you are like outside of work, and how well you would represent the company on your off-hours.  Now, in some way I already have a problem with employers doing that. I understand that employers want to hire good well-rounded candidates, however I believe what employee choose to do off the job should not be of concern to employers. I’m sure that statement has already turned some heads, but I do mean it to an extent.  We were all young once, and we all have pictures posted of drinking and having fun on our off-hours, I do not think those types of activities should be a determinant on whether or not you would be successful at a job or company.  As long as you perform well at the job, and on your off-hours you are not violating laws, or posting racist comments online I think an employee’s Facebook should not be searched out.

With that being said, I’m completely astonished that employers, I mean FUTURE employers are asking candidates to hand over their password.  That is a COMPLETE violation of privacy, and employers should not even be able to ask such a thing from candidates.  In an article posted on Forbes.com, Facebook is furious about employers seeking candidates’ passwords.  Facebook has made statements from saying this violates their user agreement terms and that employers could be under legal liability for this action. It’s astonishing to think that some job applicants’ have said yes to this ridiculous question to employers and have handed over their passwords. On the other hand, like the author states in the article on Forbes, it gives the job applicants insight on how little regard they have for their employees.

In an article published by the Daily Ticker, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer stated that:

“In an age where more and more of our personal information — and our private social interactions — are online, it is vital that all individuals be allowed to determine for themselves what personal information they want to make public and protect personal information from their would-be employers.”

Schumer has also requested further insight from the U.S. Attorney General and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to validate whether or not this will break federal law.  I am certainly no law student, and am not sure if this will violate federal law however even if it doesn’t  it shouldn’t matter. This type of demand from employers violates individual privacy and puts the future employees in a compromising position.  The prospective candidates clearly want the job they are being interviewed for, and with the future employer asking such a thing, job applicants are more susceptible to say yes to this request more so then no.  Because these future employers hold such power towards these applicants it is unfair for them to ask these applicants to violate their own privacy rights in order to get hired. To me, this is a complete abuse of power.

In conclusion, employers have NO right to ask prospective employees their Facebook passwords as that is a HUGE violation of privacy and should not be condoned.  These employers are abusing their power by asking job applicants’ during the interview for their password, making it seem like a make or break situation.  It puts a ton of unnecessary pressure on the employee and this request should never be allowed at any time, whether it’s requesting a future employee or a current employee.  This behavior is unprofessional and an abuse of power.

Check out this video about employers seeking job applicants’ passwords:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUoyzgcANMc

References

Curtin, Stacy. “Facebook Fights for Users’ Privacy — Against Employers Who Ask Job Applicants for Passwords | Daily Ticker – Yahoo! Finance.” Yahoo! Finance – Business Finance, Stock Market, Quotes, News. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/facebook-fights-users-privacy-against-employers-ask-job-155304274.html&gt;.

Mai, Chunka. “Facebook Has Self To Blame For Employer Privacy Mess – Forbes.” Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/chunkamui/2012/03/27/facebook-privacy-is-beyond-facebooks-control/2/&gt;.

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