Facebook Users Talk About Giving Employers Their Passwords

Attorney Bruce Coane says there is no federal law banning such a demand for access.

Employers are apparently increasingly requiring job candidates to submit their Facebook passwords.

"I think that's OK if it's like a big company with a really high ranking level position," said Facebook user Laura Choat, who was in South Beach on Tuesday.

She says it's common practice at her LA-based law firm to screen applicants by scouring their public Facebook pages.

"It's basically to see the person's real character because what they do on their free time defines who they are as a person," she said.

Some employers are asking applicants to log in to their accounts during the interview or even accept a friend request.

"I think it's terrible. It wouldn't be any different than an employer coming to you and saying can I come through and rummage through your drawers," said Facebook user Ed Laber.

Attorney Bruce Coane says there is no federal law banning such a demand for access.

"Employers can ask pretty much anything they want, unless there's a specific law saying they can't," he said.

Facebook is threatening legal action against those who violate its long standing policy against sharing or soliciting passwords.

It's chief privacy of policy officer posted Friday: "As a user, you shouldn't have to be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job."

Accessing an account could open employers up to claims of discrimination, if that person isn't hired.

"The employer or prospective employer goes on a Facebook page sees lots of party pictures from South Beach or bathing suit shots, an employer might deem that inappropriate," said Coane.

That could lead to a sex discrimination claim under existing federal law.

Two U.S. senators asked Attorney General Eric Holder Sunday to investigate whether the practice of asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews violates Federal law.

Contact Us