It’s not uncommon for employers to look at the social media pages of potential workers. After all, they want to know that the people they are looking to hire will not only be professional but won’t find themselves in trouble outside of the workplace. One can argue that this is invasive but considering the unpredictable nature of the working world, it’s understandable that very few want to take that risk. However, for the sake of protection on the Internet, there are limits.
Recently, Oregon joined a total of 11 other states that decided to stand up in the name of protection on social media at large. Basically, employers can require applicants to give them access to their passwords and networking pages, whether it’s to protect trade secrets or what have you. One can make the assumption that something like this is illegal, which would seem that way on the surface. However, if there isn’t a form of legislation, this activity can be done and it does nothing short of making the aforementioned applicants feel uncomfortable.
As stated before, employers may look through Facebook or Twitter pages in order to receive a general idea of who they’re looking to bring down. At times, it can be used in order to unmask some of the less flattering aspects of workers. For example, last June a Taco Bell employee was let go because of a picture of him licking a taco shell stack was posted. Even though the picture drew a tremendous reaction, Taco Bell handled the matter accordingly by firing him and the co-worker who took said picture to begin with.
That being said, the idea of giving someone you don’t know well your password is perhaps the worst decision that can be made, whether it’s for an employer or not. It would be akin to allowing a shop owner to come into their place of work so that they have the opportunity to steal every last piece of merchandise from the floor. Everything is fair game on the Internet and a social media agency can tell you that everything from birthdates to telephone numbers can be compromised.
In general, employers are not going to ask those requesting job positions to surrender access to their pages, which is comforting to know. In fact, last December saw seven states pass legislation that prevented not only employers but schools from demanding such things. For those who may be concerned about their safety while finding jobs, understand that you still have a choice.
Work is important but not at the cost of your personal assets.
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