Last year, the city of Bozeman, Montana, implemented a policy that prospective employees must supply the usernames and passwords for any web sites they belonged to, including Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo, Google and YouTube, so that they could make informed decisions about recruiting, hiring and firing. When news of the Bozeman background check process was publicized, however, there was tremendous outrage and the city suspended the practice.
In other situations, employers have sought to review text messages sent by and to employees on employer provided equipment. There has been litigation over whether one’s Twitter messages constitute opinion or expose one to claims of libel and defamation.
Employers that engage in such monitoring face pitfalls and must be aware of potential employment claims, including invasion of privacy, and must avoid a public outcry likethat in Bozeman.
Read the rest of article by Stacey DeKalb and Bryan Feldhaus which appeared in the April-May 2010 Upsize Minnesota magazine.