Photo: Thomas Euler via flickr
Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz on the legality of employers asking prospective employees for their Facebook passwords.According to Lori Adelson, a labour and employment attorney and partner with law firm Arnstein & Lehr, password snooping is legal, although she “would advise employers not to do it.”
“From an employers’ perspective, they want to check for conducts like disorderly behaviour or drunkeness,” Adelson, who represents HR, told us. “But there are better ways of doing this.”
Adelson says that asking candidates for complete access to their accounts could open the employers up to liability, because if they then decide not to hire the applicant, they could be sued for discrimination. In fact, there is less of a case if the HR person asks for the password and is unsuccessful then if the candidate hands it over.
“It’s hard to prove, but why open yourself up to potential liability?”
But if companies are going to decide to adopt this practice, they have to extend the affliction to everyone: “They have to have a clear standardized rule in the books. You can’t ask one candidate and not ask another.”
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