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Social Media and Legal Issues in the Workplace

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The part time job at the party rental store is going fine, but you need more hours. So, you hear that there's an opening at Big Box Hardware. You fill out the job application and during your interview the store manager asks you for your login id and passwords for all social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. He tells you that Big Box does this for all applicants as part of the hiring process. He also shares that if you're hired, you will be required to sign an employment agreement that prohibits employees from posting any negative or derogatory statements on any social media site.

Discuss what legal issues are presented here and whether you have a strong legal argument to refuse to comply with Big Box requests.

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This solution discusses social media and legal issues in the workplace. A comprehensive discussion is provided.

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Discussion for your question:
It is not illegal for a potential employer to ask for your social media sites log-in information, but it is undeniably highly unethical. I am going to use facebook as a repeated example, but understand that I mean all social media sites that the employer is asking for the log-in information to, in this discussion. I am using facebook because it is a common site, and for simplicity purposes.

While this isn't illegal, it does present a myriad of issues. One of the problems is that many people use the same password for multiple sites, which could include bank account pages. If the potential employer also knows that you belong to ABC bank, the potential employer also has the password to log into your bank account website. Another problem is that if potential employers are investigating (snooping around) the social site that you're using, it is really like inviting the potential employer into your private life and then allowing the employer to decide if you're suitable candidate material. At that point, the employer can then deny employment, if any content is found to be unsuitable to the ...

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