Thursday, March 29, 2012

They want to get ALL up in my business

There hasn't been much mainstream news media coverage about this, I actually tried to find a link that was a more "neutral" source and could not.

House Republicans blocked a measure Tuesday night that would have let the Federal Communications Commission prevent employers from forcing workers to reveal their Facebook passwords

This makes me nervous, pisses me off and irritates me to no end.

I have had pre-employment drug testing for every single job I have had since age 21. As a nurse, I totally understand why this is necessary. I think that it would open my employers to liability if they did NOT use drug screening. I think the same applies to construction workers, truck drivers and other professions. I understand and appreciate people who choose not to work for employers who drug test, but it simply isn't an option for me--given my choice of profession.

This FB thing is a totally and completely different level of invasion of privacy.

Georgia is a "right to work" state. This means that an employer can fire me for any reason that isn't protected by Federal law (race, sex, religion, etc.). Now they want to REQUIRE me to give them my Facebook password? Not just look at my Facebook page, but have my password. They want to be able to look at Every.Single.Post...even the ones that are not public? They want to be able to see every single message I sent privately? They want to have the ability to Log In as me?

I have heard people say that this is to cut down on employees wasting time while on the clock. I do not believe this for a single second. One does not need FB or even computer access to goof off when they should be working. (Remember the Nerf basketball hoops that used to be over every door?)

They want to get information about me. What could they possibly see on my FB page that would reasonably make them want to fire me or choose not to hire me in the first place? Will someone have concerns about my political beliefs? Will they check to see how many days I complained of a migraine? Will they frown on the fact that I posted my (painted) breasts to the internet to raise money for breast cancer research? Will they count the times I use the f-word? I have always taken care not to say crazy shit about my job on FB or on this site (which I link to on FB). However, I do say things that I would not say on the job, much less during the interview process.

FB pages have information that they are not allowed to ask in an interview...age, medical problems, marital status, pregnancy, number of children. To say that this is anything short of an invasion of privacy is preposterous. In this electronic age, FB takes the place of written letters, private emails, and gives a peek into my life that I do not want to be FORCED to give anyone. I don't really have anything to hide. I have cousins as young as 13 and conservative family members as friends on my FB page. I don't censor every single thing I say, but I don't have a lifestyle that forces me to do that. However, even if I did have outrageous statements, photos and more on my page, why should an employer have access to that?

This is a slippery slope, and it concerns me very much. If there is the presumption of privacy within my own home (if I remember to log out before giving anyone else my computer to borrow), why should employers be able to require employees to sacrifice this privacy?

What are your thoughts? Is my reaction reasonable? Or is it just a case of the redhead getting bent out of shape over something that isn't a big deal? What would you do if a potential or current employer REQUIRED you to give them your password?

************PS--What are you guys using to keep up with blogs? I have been using the Wordpress reader leftover from my old blog, but I seem to be missing LOTS of posts.**********************************************************


  1. It is preposterous. As you say, that would be giving lots of information that they aren't allowed to ask for. In Canada, because of those employment laws that would not be allowed. Of course, lots of people break lots of laws, I'm sure there are companies who ask inappropriate questions to people who don't know they can't ask that. Best thing to do is be aware of your own rights to see things like this as inappropriate. I know I wouldn't want to work for a company that asked that, employment is a two way street.

  2. I use Google Reader to follow blogs. Any RSS feed reader would work though if you wanted to search for an alternative.

    I agree with Seraphinalina, it is preposterous. A gross invasion of privacy. Employers are allowed to rule business hours, but once one leaves the building they're to butt out. This wouldn't happen in the UK either. In fact, the US is the only free country I can think of off hand that treats its employees so poorly.

  3. {I use Google Reader too.}

    The whole facebook thing absolutely infuriates me. Who could possibly believe this is anything other than a gross and frightening abuse of power? I wonder what the same employers might think if in order to get your password they were required to hand their own over in exchange?