I’ve been reading about employers asking candidates during the interview process for their login and password to social media websites like Facebook. Do you see any legality issues here? How about in asking them to login on a company computer so the interviewer can look around on their account and see who they are friends with? Or asking the candidate to friend the interviewer so the interviewer can see more than just the “public” view? I feel a privacy line is being crossed here and I’m uncomfortable. For one thing, these requests ask the candidate to violate their terms of service with the website.

Posted 05-16-2012

Ann Kiernan replies:

I agree with you. Employers have no legitimate interest in viewing anything but publicly available material online. And there certainly can be legal problems. Maryland has enacted legislation, effective on October 1, 2012, barring employers from requesting access to social media accounts of current employees as well as job applicants. Similar measures are pending in many other states, including California, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota, and federal lawmakers in the House and Senate are working on legislation that would ban the practice nationally.


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