Potential employers should not be able to request your Facebook password to comb your profile before they make hiring decisions, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said yesterday.
According to reports, some employers are asking applicants for Facebook usernames and passwords so they can look through biographical information. Schumer, a Democrat who represents New York, said that employers who make such outrageous requests may be violating federal law.
The Associated Press reported that one statistician applying for jobs in New York City was asked for his Facebook username and password during interviews. According to the AP, Justin Bassett was interviewing for a job when the interviewer searched for his Facebook page in front of him. When she discovered that the profile was private, she asked him to log in. He refused and withdrew his application.
Facebook responded to the complaints on Friday, saying that those who ask for passwords are violating their policies and such a request "undermines the privacy expectation and the security of both the user and the user's friends."
"Employers have no business asking for your Facebook password," Schumer agreed.
Schumer asked the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Justice Department to determine whether the practice is illegal.
He pointed out that giving over Facebook passwords could provide employers access to information they otherwise cannot ask about, like religion, marital status or age.
Last week, Illinois lawmakers introduced a bill that would make the increasingly common practice illegal in that state.