The Backlash to Employers Requesting Applicants’ Facebook Passwords
26 April 2012
Mayer Brown Legal Update
Social media sites allow users to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content faster than ever before. In fact, a majority of employers report using social media to screen potential candidates during the hiring process. To even better capitalize on the information that these sites provide, employers have also begun requiring job applicants to provide personal login information for Facebook and other social media sites so that they can access non-publicly available information. The outcry has been significant and some states are looking to prohibit, or strictly regulate, such efforts. However, even if the practice is not expressly outlawed in their jurisdiction, employers should be aware that accessing a public or private social media profile page carries the risk of rejected applicants claiming they were rejected for an illegitimate reason such as their race, age, or marital status.