Now Hiring! Requirements: Facebook Username & Password

Recent news of employers asking job candidates for usernames and passwords to social networking sites during job interviews has our blood boiling. For people desperately seeking employment, some may feel compelled to comply to improve their chances of getting hired so they can feed their families. The thought of anyone being required to divulge a password as a condition of employment is reprehensible. It’s comparable to allowing an employer to install a video camera in your home. People should also never feel coerced to “friend” an employer or coworkers.

Facebook often gets a bad rap for privacy practices; however we wanted to give them kudos for today’s announcement condemning the practice. Aside from the egregious violation of privacy, Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer offers several compelling reasons why employers must stop demanding access to Facebook accounts. Primarily, it is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Additionally, employers requesting this information should consider their own liability for possessing access to personal, social media or email accounts. By having full access to user accounts, employers set themselves up for discrimination lawsuits based on the personal information they find as well as legal liability in the event they discover any illicit activity by the candidate or their “friends.”

The ACLU is now involved and some states including Maryland and Connecticut are proposing legislation to ban the practice based on it being an invasion of privacy. It’s shocking that we need legislation for something that should be common sense. Let’s hope this bad press nips the problem in the bud. Tell us what you think.