Tag: HR Insights

Four Reasons Why Employers Should Not Ask for Facebook Passwords

Late last month several US Senators asked Attorney General Eric Holder and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate the legality of employers asking potential employees for their Facebook passwords as a condition of employment.  Soon laws will be in place to clear up the confusion.  However, regardless of the outcome, here are four reasons why employers should just avoid asking an employee for their Facebook password in the first place.  These excerpts were taken from an opinion piece appearing in the 4/8/12 edition of the Chicago Tribune by Jeff Nowak, Partner and Co-Chair of Franczek Radelet’s Labor and Employment Practices Group.

  1. It could expose the employer to discrimination claims.  A fundamental best practice for employers when soliciting information about job candidates is to make certain that any inquiries are “job-related”.  When employers access a candidate’s social media account, they likely are exposed to information that is not job-related and not to be considered in an employment decision.
  2. Employers can also be exposed to privacy claims.  Mr. Nowak points out that social media is the new “water cooler of the workplace”, where employees gather to share personal commentary and complaints.  New legislative issues aside, employers accessing social media could be violating existing anti-eavesdropping and privacy laws depending on the state.
  3. Most employers are not prepared to handle private information.  If an employer misses signals in social media accounts that an employee may engage in conduct harmful of others, will the employer face liability for negligent hiring practices?  Also, once an employer has an employee’s password they are responsible to protect it.
  4. Employer = Big Brother.  Legal issues aside, think of the messages an employer sends to prospective employees by asking for access.  First, it suggests that you lag in your understanding and acceptance of social media, and, second, it says immediately upfront that trust is an issue.

Mr. Nowak summarizes, “Requiring Facebook passwords is not good business.”  It is highly unlikely to bring meaningful benefits.  And, people can erase their media posts in seconds, so why go to the trouble?  HRInsights agrees.

It takes 10 years to be an overnight success….


@OfficeDivvy tweeted over the weekend announcing their latest blog post, Overnight Success Does Exist!…Not! David Heinemeier Hansson, a partner at 37signals, was speaking at Stanford’s Technology Venture Program about the fact that it took  37signals 10 years to become an “overnight success”. He believes that “accelerated growth is a charade” (his statement is a reaction to vc’s expectation that cash creates accelerated growth) and that it takes time to develop a sustainable, profitable company. Some have called this a defeatist attitude. Far from it. I can’t tell you how many business plans I have seen (actually wrote a couple) that portend huge revenue and profit in a 3-5 year timeframe. These plans are written by aggressive, optimistic and rational people. They are based on well-informed assumptions. They just aren’t very realistic. So what are the critical activities that have to be executed in order to build a sustainable, profitable company (assuming you have a real product and market):

  • Have a core team that is committed to success
  • Add to the core with the best people you can find…Don’t settle
  • Communicate well (both within the core team as well as the company)
  • Sell…Everyday
  • Understand your key success metrics and watch them
  • Manage your cash
  • Maintain a sense of urgency but don’t freak out
  • Take some risks, try new things (ie marketing, new products)
  • Celebrate success…Understand failures
  • Remember the Fundamentals
  • Establish a solid infrastructure for hiring, managing, paying and, when necessary, terminating your employees

Building a sustainable company is really hard. I am personally on a mission to do this right now. This is my list…What am I missing?

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