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Around the Web – Why employers can request Facebook passwords without breaching the law

26 March 2012

It is a well-known fact that employers and recruiters are checking out candidates’ Facebook pages but a recent article by the Australian news channel 9News now claims that employers could also request Facebook passwords to gain more insight into a job candidate’s profile – without breaching the law

Currently there are no laws in Australia that protect job applicants from what seems an unethical request and according to researcher Chris Connolly at the University of New South Wales employers do at present have the freedom to demand Facebook passwords in an interview.

“It's certainly not illegal to ask someone for a social network password. The real issue is what if they don't employ you — that is they discriminate against you — because you said 'no' and other people said 'yes', [but] there's no legal case.”

This trend has grown concern amongst job applicants after there have been reports in the US of employers using such methods in the hiring process.

“There is information on Facebook that can only be seen behind a password and that information should be of no concern to an employer,” Mr Connolly said to the news provider.

He also pointed out that “It's fine for employers to retain the right to do some general background checking of employees. Checking someone's background on Google is okay as it's the normal process. But it's really overstepping the mark going to the private information that is generally being shared with family and friends,” he added.

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