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There's a growing trend in the working world, and unsurprisingly, it involves Facebook. More and more job interviewers are reportedly asking job applicants for their Facebook passwords, hoping to get a little more insight before they offer anyone a position.
Public agencies are also getting in on the trend, especially when hiring individuals for law enforcement positions. They want to ensure there are no gang connections or photos of illegal activity. Law professor Orin Kerr calls the request "an egregious privacy violation." But is it legal?
It would seem so. There are currently no laws that forbid job interviewers from asking job seekers for Facebook passwords or other social-networking logins. Though Maryland and Illinois have proposed legislation that would forbid public agencies from making such a request, the Associated Press reports that no state has addressed the issue with regards to private employers.
Generally speaking, state and federal laws only prohibit employment inquiries that are discriminatory in nature. Some states also prohibit the use of an applicant's criminal history or credit report. Other than these few exceptions, employers are generally free to ask about everything -- from who your best friend is, to what you like to eat for dinner.
But just because a job interviewer can ask for a job seeker's Facebook password, it doesn't mean the individual must supply it. It is ultimately up to you whether you want to provide that information or not. It may cost you the job, but if you're that offended by the question, you probably wouldn't like working there anyway.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.