Can You be Sacked for not Giving up Your Facebook Password?

Author: Adi Gaskell
Published: April 02, 2012 at 5:44 am

facebook privacyI wrote recently about how some recruiters have been demanding candidates hand over their Facebook login details so they can check out your profile.  The key to this temptation is new research revealing that a glance over your Facebook profile is a better indicator of future career success than more traditional performance tests.

Suffice to say that such madness has prompted a significant response from privacy groups, and indeed Facebook themselves, with the company threatening legal action should a recruiter demand access to one of their members accounts.

This hasn't stopped some organisations however.  zdNet report that a teachers aide has been fired for refusing to give up her Facebook password to her boss.  They reveal that Kimberly Hester was fired by Lewis Cass Intermediate School District.

The episode began in April last year when she posted a picture of a co-workers pants around her ankles as a joke.  She posted the photo from home outside of school time.

A parent of one of the kids at the school saw the photo and complained to the school.  A few days passed before access to her account was demanded by the school, with Hester refusing each time.

Soon after, they wrote Hester a letter, a part of which said the following, according to WSBT: “…in the absence of you voluntarily granting Lewis Cass ISD administration access to you[r] Facebook page, we will assume the worst and act accordingly."

Hester says she was put on paid leave and eventually suspended from her post.

“I stand by it,” Hester said in a statement. “I did nothing wrong. And I would not, still to this day, let them in my Facebook. And I don’t think it’s OK for an employer to ask you.”

From a legal perspective it would appear she has a tough battle on her hands given that there is no law currently preventing employers from requesting access to a Facebook account.

Just because such an action is possible however does not make it right.  That the action comes from an organisation designed to help teach youngsters the right way to behave as adults is very sad indeed.  Shame on them.


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Article Author: Adi Gaskell

A writer on management issues for publications such as Professional Manager, CMI, HRM Today, Business Works and Technorati. I also cover social media for Social Media Today, DZone and Social Business News.

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