Many employers now saying no password, no paycheck

Would you give up your Facebook password just to get a job, or keep the job you have? It’s an issue that’s getting attention nationwide as more and more companies have been asking for social media passwords to access every part of your profile.

“If you really want that job, you almost are kind of forced to, so that’s what I did and I changed my password right after,” said Justin Krowel, who told Fox59 he was asked for his password as part of the interview process for a government job out-of-state.

“Why do they need to know that, if they’re going to hire me?” he asked. “I just don’t feel right about that.”

Ashley Bacon, of Crawfordsville, said she was also asked for her log-in information before taking a job in the health care industry.

“On the application they ask if you have a Facebook,” Bacon said. “They would ask for your log-in information and what name you would go by so that way they could get on your Facebook to check to see what you were doing outside of work.”

A local employment attorney told Fox59 she thought the practice should be illegal, and might already violate some existing laws.

“Employees should be able to have their privacy, and employers shouldn’t be able to invade that privacy to that extent,” said attorney Sandra Blevins. “If an employer is able to get online and look at stuff that you have chosen to keep private, when you had not intended for that individual to be able to access it, I think that, yes, they do get a lot of information about you that you might not want the world to know.”

Information like your political or religious affiliation could lead to discrimination, Blevins said.

“They don’t even have to say why they’re not hiring you or why they’re firing you,” she said. “That could be in their head without you knowing it.”

“It is very unfair and I think they should make it illegal,” said Bacon.

Some states are trying to pass laws against the practice- Illinois, Michigan and four other states already have. But what about here in Indiana?

“I think it crosses the line,” said State Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson. “About 65 percent of employers are either looking at Facebook, at your profiles and postings, or some are even actually asking for passwords so they can get in.”

Austin believes the issue should be looked at closely by Indiana legislators in the near future.

“It certainly is an invasion of privacy for an employer to ask for your password,” she said. “It creates real potential for discrimination.”

Blevins also felt the state should pass a law against the practice.

“As with most unlawful things, somebody has to call you on it,” Blevins said. “Somebody has to hold you accountable, and if no one holds you accountable, then you get away with doing unlawful things. I’m not sure anyone’s going to hold you accountable. Now if Facebook starts going after employees for requesting those passwords, that would probably shut it down pretty quickly.”

“I really hope and pray that they make it illegal that nobody should be able to get information like that about us,” said Bacon. “I think that we need to have privacy to protect ourselves.”

Any new laws would likely have to be introduced next year, since legislators are already up against deadlines for this year’s legislative session.

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