Sunday, April 1, 2012

Teacher Fired for Refusing to Give School Facebook Password

The issue of employers requesting Facebook login information and passwords from applicants and employees has been all the buzz lately and now we have a firing in Michigan of a teacher who refused to turn over her Facebook login and password to the school she was employed with, Frank Squires Elementary School in Cassopolis, Michigan.  The teacher, Kimberly Hester, refused to turn over her Facebook information after she posted controversial pictures on her page.  Hester was apparently "friends" with some of her students' parents who saw the pictures and other controversial content on Hester's page which prompted the Lewis Cass Intermediate School District to delve into the situation and requested Hester's login information, which she refused to do and resulted in her termination.  Hester has filed for arbitration on the termination.

From The Huffington Post article on the firing: 

Hester's battle resonates with Michigan Republican state Reps. Matt Lori and Aric Nesbitt, who reportedly contacted the teacher's aide Thursday to include her story in House Bill 5523. The legislation would make it illegal for employers to request employees' login information for social networking sites.
But in Washington last week, the House of Representatives struck down an amendment, titled "Mind Your Own Business On Paswords," that would prevent companies from requiring current or potential employees to surrender their passwords to social networking sites.
In response to widespread controversy over employers' requests for social networking information, Facebook issued a statement March 23 that reinforces its commitment to protecting user privacy, threatening lawsuits against companies who make such requests.

This will become an increasingly interesting issue as social media and its implications in the workplace have transcended across several areas of labor, employment, privacy and communication laws.

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