Can You Ask an Applicant for a Facebook Password?

By: Sam G. Sherman

Many employers have been asking whether it is legal to ask a job applicant for a facebook password as a condition of employment. Employers have been reviewing applicants’ public Facebook information for years, but the questions is whether to go one-step further to actually request a password. The answer? Absolutely not. Here are the reasons:

  1. It can expose you to liability. California and federal law prevents an employer from refusing to hire an applicant based on their sexual orientation, genetics, and various other protected categories. It is much easier for an applicant to prove you refused to hire them on these grounds if you obtained a Facebook password that allowed you to access this information.
  2. It may soon be illegal. California’s state assembly passed a bill a couple months ago that would make it illegal to even ask for this information. There is no need to get into a pattern of doing something that may soon be illegal.
  3. It is just bad practice. Do you really want your current and future employees thinking that you’re the type of employer that wants to snoop around their Facebook page? No (even if you really do want to).

Feel free to reach out with any questions. Otherwise, I’d stear clear of this practice and stick to reviewing public information.

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