Some Employers Are Requesting Your Social Media Logins
In this day of an increasing number of people using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it is becoming common practice for employers to review both job applicants’ and employee’s public social media pages. Some businesses go even further by demanding both user names and passwords so that they can access everything that their employees have posted on these sites. Once the employer has the login information, there is no limit to what they can look for including private messages, photos, posts, relationship information or anything else a person can put on their private page. In many states, there are groups that are sponsoring legislation that would make it illegal to request this information from both employees and job applicants. These measures would also make it illegal for companies to retaliate against any employees or job applicants that refuse to give their personal social media user names and passwords. If these measures are passed, employers could be sued if they continue to request this information and may be responsible for damages. Employers that are asking for this information argue that what people post on social media is insight into their character and is necessary since these individuals represent their company.
Many companies do check public social media accounts of their employees and job applicants. If there is something that a person would be embarrassed about, they should not support it. Many of these sites have privacy settings that block postings from the general public but to be on the safe side, items should not be posted that might reflect on them negatively. Employers that are going further and asking for private log in information are not the norm but it is growing as more and more users increase their privacy settings. Groups are working hard to get legislation passed before asking for user names and passwords become a wide spread trend. It will also give recourse to people that refuse to give the information so they do not fear losing their job or not getting the position they are perfect for. Request of this report also raises another issue; many people use the same user names and passwords for many different websites including banks, credit cards and many other areas with private information.
It is totally understandable that companies are checking out their employees and job applicants public pages because they want employees that represent them well in public. They do not want an employee that has posted inappropriate messages or pictures that anyone surfing the internet can see. However, businesses do not have the right to gain access to private information that can’t be seen by the public. Companies have no right to ask for private information such as user names and passwords so that employees can remain employed or job applicants can get the job they are fit for. When a potential employer requests this information from job applicants, it places the applicant in a very uncomfortable situation. They have to consider whether or not to give the information and to have to make a quick decision whether or not they want the job. If they do really want or need a work, they have to be willing to give up this private information and their freedom. They would also be making their private log in information known to others that could use it to try to access their banking and credit card accounts.
Although the practice of asking for this private social media report is not a widespread trend, it should be nipped in the bud before it too becomes common practice. Additionally, employees and job applicants should not fear their work if they refuse to give up the information.