Give me your Facebook password or no job!

We know that these days employers, schools, sports teams and others scan your social media. They read what you've written and posted - even if it might have been in the heat of the moment years ago. Then, they use that information as a basis for hiring or admission.

"According to the ACLU, the number of employers who request access to applicants' Facebook profiles has risen over the past year." Not that these practices are necessarily legal, and certainly not ethical. "Accessing such private information puts employers in a legal gray area and may potentially open them up to both privacy and discrimination lawsuits."

Even so, in one way or another many employers are determined to get further into your social media, even if they have to demand your password as a condition for hiring. Others, however, have found a workaround. "University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a unique method: It requires all student athletes to friend a designated coach or administrative official on Facebook so that he or she can monitor their pages."

But some legislators aren't happy. Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, "... are calling on the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to launch investigations. The senators are sending letters to the heads of the agencies."

Senator Schumer said:

"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. This is especially important during the job-seeking process, when all the power is on one side of the fence."

Speed Matters agrees with Senator Schumer but also believes that employers will continue to exercise excessive power, unless balanced by workers' own organizations which can work on their behalf. Although the technology and practices are new, the struggle is historic, which is why labor unions are not only relevant, but as necessary as ever.

Big Brother Wants Your Facebook Password (Business Week, Mar. 27, 2012)
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-27/big-brother-wants-your-facebook-password

Senators ask feds to probe requests for Facebook passwords (USA Today, Mar. 25, 2012)
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-03-25/facebook-password-probe/53766330/1