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Employment law news – Facebook becomes employment battleground

10th April 2012

Alarm bells have begun to ring following reports emanating from the US of employers asking for such details from their employees. The issue has become so heated that two members of the American senate have asked the nation’s attorney general to look into the question of whether such privacy breaches are a violation of federal law.

It is thought that to ask for login details and passwords in the UK would, as well as being questionable in the eyes of employment law, be a potential breach of the Data Protection Act.

“The UK Data Protection Act clearly says that organisations shouldn’t hold excessive information about individuals, and it’s questionable why they would need that information in the first place,” commented a spokesperson with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Facebook issued a statement outlining its position on the employment law issue: “We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do. While we do not have any immediate plans to take legal action against any specific employers, we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders, to help better safeguard the privacy of our users.”

Indeed, were an employer to sack an employee based purely on personal details gleaned from a Facebook account, solicitors may well be able to help the employee affected launch a claim for unfair dismissal.

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