The days of companies going to extreme lengths to snoop on Facebook are coming to an end-- at least in Oregon. The state just became the 11th state in the U.S. to ban companies from asking employees disclose their Facebook or social media passwords, according to USA Today.
The state is not the first to do this. In 2012, Maryland passed legislation prohibiting employers from seeking Facebook and Twitter login details from current and prospective employees.
Around that time, Facebook came out with a statement condemning the practice. Chief Privacy Officer for Policy at Facebook Erin Egan wrote:
We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don't think it's the right thing to do. But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating. For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don't hire that person.
Why You Should Follow Suit
Similarly, in a recent post, Inc. contributor Suzanne Lucas warned companies about making their firing decisions based information obtained from social media. She gave the example of Lacoste, which fired an employee for posting a picture of his paycheck on Instagram. One employment lawyer believes the termination was illegal, saying that employees have the right to share how much they make under the National Labor Relations Act.
"You should have a good policy in place, but save your punishments for egregious things, like threats or proof of fraud. Do not fire someone for posting his or her paycheck. That's just dumb and possibly illegal," Lucas wrote.
The point? If you do monitor your employees' social media profiles and plan to use that information to make hiring or firing decisions for whatever reason, make sure you know your state's current laws.
An amendment to a federal law that would have made it illegal for employers to ask for Facebook passwords was defeated last year. However, there are now 11 states that ban the practice, according to USA Today.