So you know how your boss gets all up in your grill at work?: “Why were you late?” (To quote P!nk: “Sometimes it beez* like that,” aka I pressed the snooze button.); “Oooh, what are you eating for lunch?” (Stop playing. It’s just Quiznos. I’m lucky if they even used Boar’s Head meat on this sammich.); and “Do you have any plans for the weekend?” (Ugh, can we just not talk in the elevator or in life? Thanks.) Well, the Associated Press reports that employers now not only want to get up in your grill, but they want to inspect it for any potential jankness aka they want your Facebook password, so they can look at your page before deciding whether to hire you. Like Kanye West says, “That shit cray.” And who would’ve thunk it, but the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) agrees with his sentiment.
The ACLU was so infuriated that their attorney Caroline Crump got crunk! Technically, she got “white people crunk,” which is just releasing a firm and measured statement to the press:
“It’s an invasion of privacy for private employers to insist on looking at people’s private Facebook pages as a condition of employment or consideration in an application process. People are entitled to their private lives. You’d be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside. It’s equally out of bounds for an employer to go on a fishing expedition through a person’s private social media account.”
I co-sign with Ms. Crump like she’s applying for a FHA loan. Employers thinking that a prerequisite to working on TPS reports is allowing them to rummage through one’s private life is not only inappropriate, but baffling. At least on the surface. However, if you look a little deeper, it’s apparent they believe invasion of privacy is nothing more than business as usual, especially if they don’t consider what they’re asking as under the category of private. The fact is that many people don’t view social media as part of your private life because it is, by its very nature, public. We let friends know what we’re doing, where we’re eating, and what we’re thinking. We post pictures of us doing anything from relaxing on vacation to posing sexily in front of a bathroom mirror. (Btdubs, no matter how hard you try, those kinds of pictures will always be a boner killer.) Hell, my boyfriend and I met after a mutual friend gave us access to her Facebook account, so we could inspect each other’s profile pages and THEN decide if we wanted to go out on a date. I didn’t want a stranger to buy me chicken alfredo without doing a full NFL style scouting report on him. So I’m not entirely shocked that employers want to do the same before giving you a company badge.
However, I am a little surprised that Democratic Rep. of Illinois LaShawn Ford (despite being a dude, no other name says, “my destiny in life is to become a member of ’90s R&B girl group SWV) is trying to pass a bill where job applicants can file lawsuits if potential employers ask for access to their Facebook. Ay dios mio. Doesn’t it make sense to conclude that if someone is willing to invade your privacy before you’ve been hired that it’s probably not a place you want to work at in the first place? What’s the point of suing over a question that’s not going to lead to Mariska Hargitay asking you to “point on the doll where the man touched you?” I mean, what’s next? Should I be allowed to sue people at work for asking to touch my afro? I mean, both are inappropriate questions, but at some point, you have to be an adult, “nut up,” and tell someone the polite equivalent of “Kiss my grits,” which is, “Oh, no that makes me feel uncomfortable, but thanks for asking…now, get off my lawn!” Sorry! I couldn’t resist throwing that Clint Eastwood line in at the end. But seriously, why is the solution to being offended involve looking in the phone book – I’m dating myself here – for the nearest lawyer? It’s ludicrous for someone to try and invade another’s personal space/life, but it’s doubly ludicrous to sue and potentially cause someone to lose their job and their money over that. People are going to offend you. They’re going to do things you don’t like. That’s life.
The bottom line is that everyone should try to stay out of everyone’s personal space/life as much as possible when it comes to the workplace. No lawsuits required. Just use your words and say, “no,” when asked to get access to your Facebook page. Or if you have a boombox handy – ’cause who doesn’t – just press play and allow Salt-N-Pepa’s “None Of Your Business” to blast in the face of that potential employer before you chuck up the deuces and leave the interview.
*I thought it was spelled “bees” or “bes,” but Google responded with “Did you mean: Sometimes it beez like that?” Calm the eff down, Googs.