Philadelphia Employment Law News

Will Your Interviewer Ask for Your Facebook Password?

How far would you go to get a job? Would you let an interviewer come to your house to see if you are tidy, responsible, or how much beer is in the refrigerator? Well, a growing practice used by employers has been compared to handing an interviewer the keys to your home. Increasingly, interviewers are asking for your Facebook login and password.

Most people would agree this is an invasive way to conduct an interview, but is it illegal? The short answer is no — not yet anyway. Although some states are considering passing laws against the practice, there is no specific legal protection at this time. Much the same way interviewers have so much leeway in what kind of information they can seek directly from you — what were your grades in school, did you get fired from your last job — they are now finding new ways to answer those questions about just who you are, reports the New York Daily News.

The story of Robert Collins, who re-applied for a job as a security guard at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services was reported by NPR. The interviewer asked him for his login and password and he felt he had to comply; he needed the job to support his family. As with Robert Collins, jobs that require any kind of security clearance have long used fairly invasive techniques such as interviews with family and neighbors to screen and clear applicants. So is this really any different?

But what if you are just looking for a “normal” job as a data analyst in a large corporation? What can you do? As always, the best defense is a good offense. First, make sure your security settings are correctly set. This won’t protect you from an interviewer that logs in as you, but it will keep your information safer from an outside, third party search. Second, make sure you use your head about what you post. Not only will pictures of illegal activity like underage drinking lose you a job, they could get you into legal trouble as well. Third and finally, you can always say no.

Yes, the economy is bad and people need work, but you should consider how long you would really stay at a company that is willing to be that aggressive about your privacy rights before you even get hired.

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