Employee sues after being asked to provide Facebook credentials

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

We all knew it was only a matter of time.

After increasing questions about not only its moral ramifications but also the straight up legality of it, the disturbing new human resources trend will be facing a jury.

It's a rapidly growing and increasingly disturbing trend - employers asking prospective or even current employees to hand over their Facebook log-in credentials.

rapidly growing and increasingly disturbing trend of employers asking prospective or even current employees to hand over their Facebook log-in credentials

A teacher's aide at an elementary school in Michigan has fought back against the school's requirement that she let administrators access every nook and cranny of her Facebook account.

One Kimberly Hester posted a picture of someone with her pants around her ankles. That someone happened to be a coworker at Cassopolis, MI’s Frank Squires Elementary School. A parent, whom Hester trusted enough to friend on Facebook, contacted school authorities about the picture.

As a means of their investigation, officials told Hester she needed to provide her Facebook log-in credentials. She refused, and the school placed her on administrative leave. She received a letter stating that since she would not provide her account info, "We will assume the worst and act accordingly."

Now, she’s suing the school. Since this practice came to light over the last couple months, questions have been raised over whether or not an employer making such a demand violated either the Store Communications Act or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Hester’s case, which goes into arbitration in May, also has a nice ally on its side – Facebook has publicly opposed this practice in a very vocal way.