Employers ask job seekers for Facebook usernames, passwords

The social network utilized by millions of people around the world is becoming a more popular way for employers to screen potential employees.

Statuses, photos and 'likes' are just a few of the ways to get the inside scoop on someone's personal life. And now businesses are asking for job seekers to give them their Facebook usernames and passwords in hopes of learning more about someone they are considering hiring. According to Attorney Jeff Blackburn, it is 100 percent legal for employers to ask for this information and, he said, it is 100 percent appropriate for them to do so.

"They have a right to say, 'I don't want you because you won't give me your Facebook password.' That's the law. If you're really serious about looking for a job and you're acting like an idiot on Facebook, take your page down, don't have one."

Other people, however, feel that is a dangerous route for businesses to take.

"Items such as disability, religious affiliation, things like that that are protected by discrimination laws are what an employer does not need to stumble into when they're trying to make a hiring decision," Workforce Solutions Panhandle Director Trent Morris stated.

Morris said employers may have other intentions in mind when asking for that information, and he recommended people not give that information away.

"It could be a test," he said. "The employer may want to see if somebody can protect confidential information. So, I'd politely decline and explain that's information that you're just not willing to hand over- any type of account information."

Still, the Internet is extremely accessible. All kinds of information can be found, and Blackburn said people should keep that in mind when they consider posting personal information on social networks.

"This should be a wake-up call for idiots who put everything that they think, know and feel- and sometimes and usually don't know- on Facebook. It's out there. It's in the public domain. People have a right to go look at it."

And when it comes to what people should not post, Blackburn had a simple answer.

"Uuhhh, stupid stuff, ok? I mean, chances are pretty good, you know, if you're looking for a job at a day care center, you might want to take down the photo of you smoking a joint with an AK-47 in your hand."