Employers should not look into the social media lives of their current or potential employees, and definitely
should not be allowed to ask current/potential employees for their passwords to the accounts.
The biggest question I have in regards to this issue is, why would an employer want to? Employers may cite that this ability allows them to perform a more thorough background check intothe actual person, and make sure the employees carry themselves professionally outside the workplace; after all, the employer is listed on the employee’sFacebook page, essentially making them a diplomat of the office at all times. While this argument is highly valid, other issues may arise from an employer looking into the pages of their workforce, including: you can’t un-see what you’ve seen, it may mean losingyour best worker, and not to mention that it changes the meaning of “off theclock”.
Believe it or not, the boss does not need to know everything about their employees’ lives. The fact that you can’t un-see what you’ve already seen could have a negative effect on the work place. Say you are an employer that decides to look
at an employee’s Facebook page, and they have an awkward photo on theirpage. From that moment that employee, in
the work place, will remind you of that photo and could have a negative impacton how you see them and interact with them.
Looking at such content online about your employees can also revealthings, major or minor, that the company may deem unsuitable and force a boss to fire, or even not hire, a great employee/ prospect because of what they do
in their social life. This leads intothe issue of the employer’s “over your shoulder” while the employee is off the
clock, which is exactly what this ability to access social media pages of employees is. It would mean that the
employee never has the opportunity to free themselves of the scrutiny of their boss, thus making “off the clock” time “company time”, which doesn’t allow the employee to truly leave work, and especially without extra pay.
Step into the role of an employer; would you hire an average prospect that doesn’t have a Facebook page because they
don’t have information out there over a highly qualified prospect who shares their real life with friends and
family? Maybe the person without the page is the one who truly has something to hide, and I don’t mean drunken
photos from the summer.
The real issue at hand here is that employers are attempting to invade the “off the clock” everyday lives of people, believing that they are doing a “good thing” for the business. For me, my real life has absolutely nothing
to do with my work life except for what I decide to share. If my employer wants to pay me every minute of every day, I will gladly keep my pages to their standards, but until that happens, I will continue to share what I want to share with the world, my family, and my friends. To conclude my feelings on this issue, I am of the belief that problems arise when you go looking for problems, which is what I feel employers are doing by looking into people’s online lives.