Your privacy – can an employer ask for your Facebook login and password?

Employment Privacy

What are your employment privacy rights?

I have become acutely aware that in this day and age you cannot expect any privacy once you walk out the front door of your house. Video and camera’s are everywhere and one just has to expect that your every move is being watch and scrutinized. It seems that not only is Big Brother keeping an eye on you, but so is corporate America and your neighbor. So when I read a news article entitled, “Can an employer ask for your Facebook login and password?” I was really not surprised. It seems that we are losing more and more of our civil liberties on a daily basis.

To recap the news article – Job seekers applying to Maryland’s Department of Corrections were asked for their Facebook logins and passwords. Agency officials state that they are doing this to make sure job candidates don’t have any gang affiliations. The agency states it has reviewed the social media accounts of 2,689 applicants and denied employment to seven because of items found on their pages. The agency had job candidates log in to their Facebook accounts while the hiring manager peered over their shoulder as they perused everything behind their privacy settings.

As you can guess the ACLU is all over this and after learning of this practice, has stepped in and put a stop to it.

I have always told our customers, employees, friends and family to be careful what they put into social media, it becomes a public record. You have to know that when you meet someone you are being searched, Googled and Binged. The information that is discovered about you is being scrutinized and decisions are being made about your character and worthiness.

Although – in the case of Maryland’s Department of Corrections I am completely shocked. Since when has it become OK for anyone or company to view past your privacy settings, whether they are online or personal settings. I wonder what’s next, wire tapping?

As an US company based in San Francisco California we do hire employees and we will perform a thorough background check and yes we will search for you on various online search engines and social media sites while doing our due diligence. After all – we want to make sure we are investing in the best candidate for the position as well as the company. But never would we ask for your logins and passwords.

Can a potential employer ask for such information? As it turns out, it depends on the policies the employer has in place and your State law. There are websites that can help in a general sense, but because laws vary from state to state it is hard to say what might be legal in one state could be illegal in another.

I am really curious about what you think about this? As you read this blog what pops into your mind?

If you would like, we provide a Free Technical Assessment, this can be beneficial to new and startup companies that are not sure where to start.

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About Barry Bestpitch

Barry Bestpitch has helped a wide range of businesses launch, re-brand, and flourish. Barry has worked in various business development , marketing positions and executive staff positions, he is experienced in all media and in small and large scale marketing. He is strong at writing business plans and proposals as well as aiding with your funding search. Barry has acted as a coach and mentor to many business owners and executives.

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7 Comments on “Your privacy – can an employer ask for your Facebook login and password?”

  1. Nola Says:

    As a former Human Resources Manager, I would not have given any serious consideration to demanding personal information during the interview process. In my humble opinion, it’s akin to asking a potential employee his/her age, race, ethnicity, gender. It’s a blatant invasion of privacy.

    That being said, if the law(s) in any particular state uphold such a demand, then one must either provide or look for employment elsewhere.

    Question: Do you know which state allows this practice, and has there been a bona fide challenge to it – to their state supreme court?


  2. Barry Bestpitch Says:

    Hi Nola-

    Thank you for your comment. I do see this as a blatant privacy vialoation, but the funny thing is, this is a law enforement agency asking for the information. It was in the state of Maryland. Of all people or companies, one would think that Law Enforcement would know the law. Perhaps in Maryland this is OK, but this is just way too invasive. It’s like asking what color your under garments are. Somethings are just too personal and any online social media that is for personal use qualifies, in my book.


    • Nola Says:

      Well, then, for once I will side with the ACLU and hope that this law can be overturned on those grounds. Pigs just flew.


  3. Barry Bestpitch Says:

    San Francisco Bay Area KTVU Channel 2 news just reported on this story. They also said that some companies want you to friend the HR manager.


  4. Barry Bestpitch Says:

    This morning a video clip on “Right This Minute” caught my eye because it is directly related to this article. Here us the URL:



  1. The Daily Pot - March 20, 2012

    Still Not Clear if it’s Legal or not for Employers to ask for Facebook Passwords

  2. What potential employers want to know about you | Raven Cloud Computing Blog - April 16, 2012

    […] doing research for a previous article entitled “Your privacy – can an employer ask for your Facebook login and password?” I came across plenty of articles and topics related to the subject. Recently, while I was […]

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