When Justin Basset interviewed for a job in New York City in 2012, he expected to respond to questions one is typically asked in a job interview. However, his interview took a modern technological twist when the interviewer opened her computer and attempted to look at Mr. Basset’s Facebook profile on her computer. Unable to see the details of his profile because he had taken advantage of Facebook’s privacy options to limit public viewing, she asked for his login information to access his account. He declined and withdrew his application.1 In 2010, Robert Collins, a Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services employee, was interviewed to determine whether he was eligible for reinstatement after taking a leave of absence following a death in the family. His supervisors asked for his Facebook password during the interview so they could look at his profile to help them determine whether he was involved in gang-related activity. He complied, reluctantly.2 In 2009, the City of Bozeman, Montana, employed a practice of asking job applicants for password information for their e-mail, social networking, and other online accounts.3 Similar incidents in Illinois, Virginia, and Michigan have also been reported.4
This document was originally published in 2014 in American Business Law Journal in volume 51, issue 4, pages 779-841 by the Academy of Legal Studies in Business. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1111/ablj.12039
Park, Susan. (2014). "Employee Internet Privacy: A Proposed Act that Balances Legitimate Employer Rights and Employee Privacy". American Business Law Journal, 51(4), 779-841.
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