Companies Asking Applicants for Password to Facebook Pages

Many employers in California do a thorough background check of prospective employees during the interview process, and that fact is certainly not news to most people. But what if the company you were interviewing with asked you for your Facebook password? Surprisingly this is a growing trend, particularly in California.

The practice of companies asking for social media account passwords from applicants opens many questions, and possibly could lead to discrimination lawsuits against the employer. Depending on the company, it may or may not be a requirement of all applicants. Facebook has publicly condemned the practice.

“[the practice] undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends,” says Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer. “It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated liability.”

The employer can possibly obtain information such as race, sexual orientation or any other special interest groups with which the applicant may be affiliated. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has condemned the practice as well. They have supported proposed legislation to ban the practice.

Would you give up your Facebook password to a potential employer? Why or why not?

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—California employment attorneys