It’s been eight long years since Bozeman, Montana, collection the net on fire by inquiry that task applicants because that municipal positions turn over passwords come their personal social media account as part of the application process. In the wake up of that story, states rushed to introduce legislation prohibiting this practice; many succeeded. And, the story an ext or less died.

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Thank you, NBC, because that reigniting it.

From the New York Post:

A fired NBC employee claims a recruiter who originally contacted her for a project as an audio-visual coordinator told she NBC “specifically asked because that good-looking employees”— and also wanted to check out pictures before she might get her foot in the door.

Stephanie Belanger says the recruiter asked her “to show her Facebook/Instagram file to NBC before she could be interviewed.”

Despite every the the an unfavorable press the this story is going to receive, I would be surprised if one-percent the one-percent of every employers have even considered asking a job applicant for access to a exclusive social-media account, let alone lugged through on the thought by making it a hiring requirement.

And carry out you understand why many (nearly all?) employers perform not carry out this? It’s poor HR policy, with far-ranging legal risk:

Legal problems aside, this story raises another, an ext fundamental, concern — what kind of employer carry out you desire to be? perform you want to be regarded as Big Brother?
Do you desire a paranoid carry out you desire your employee to feeling invaded and victimized as soon as castle walk in the door, with no sense of personal space or privacy?
Or, do you worth transparency? perform you want HR practices that engender honesty, and openness, and also that recognize that employees space entitled to a life outside of work?
Social media provides a the majority of benefits to employers. That opens networks of communication in between employees in and also out the the workplace. And, when used smartly, it permits employers come learn an ext about potential employee than ever before. You deserve to learn if an employee has an excellent communication skills, is a good social fit, or trashed a previous employer. But, this tool has to be used smartly to stop legal risks. Inquiry passwords is not smart.

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While that seems favor we cannot recall a time without society media in ours lives, it stays a brand-new and developing type of media. The rules and regulations that govern it room still evolving. Moreover, federal governments are feather for methods to regulate it.
If a small minority of businesses pursue this bad HR practice, state legislatures and also Congress will continue pursuing legislative solutions. Perform not carry out the government the opportunity. Deserve to we all just agree the requiring social media passwords is a negative idea and also finally relocate on indigenous this story?
Jon Hyman is a partner at Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis in Cleveland. Comment below or email editors

Written through Jon Hyman