find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Employers extend reach into employees’ lives

Employers extend reach into employees’ lives

The latest trend of employers asking prospective employees for access to their social media profiles is indicative of a wider trend within employment law, according to an employment law specialist.

The latest trend of employers asking prospective employees for access to their social media profiles is indicative of a wider trend within employment law, according to an employment law specialist.

According to Maurice Blackburn principal Kamal Farouque, the recent emergence in the United States of employers asking prospective employees for access to their Facebook accounts is not only a “very intrusive request”, but also represents the tendency amongst employers to try and extend their reach into the lives of their employees. 

“[Such requests] represent the pointy end of a trend which is occurring generally in employment, which is employers seeking to extend their reach into the employee’s personal activities, beyond what is usually regarded as the employer’s legitimate domain – that is, working hours,” said Farouque.

“There can be circumstances in which your out-of-work conduct can bear on your employment, but to simply make this broad request for a prospective employee or indeed an actual employee to see [their] social media [profile] … would be well beyond the bounds of the employer’s power … In most instances such a request would be regarded as unreasonable.”

This week it was reported that employers in the United States are asking job candidates during the interview process for access to their Facebook and other social media profiles in an effort to vet the personal life of the prospective employee.

While there is no express law in Australia which would prohibit such a request, Farouque said such a situation could potentially breach an agreement between the social media site and the candidate, offend the national privacy principles under the Privacy Act or, in an interview setting, raise discrimination issues with respect to the type of personal information that is commonly revealed within social media profiles.

“There might be terms of agreement between the social media site and the employee about what they can and can’t do in relation to giving people access. So effectively, asking a prospective employee in an interview to hand over their password to a social media site might breach a term of that agreement,” he explained.

“Principle 1.1.2 [of the National Privacy Principles] effectively says that an organisation can collect personal information only by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way … So a request which is put to a prospective employer in a context of an interview saying, ‘Give me access to your Facebook site, give me your password’, would offend that privacy principle and a person can make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner and they might be able to get some recourse about that.”
 

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Employers extend reach into employees’ lives
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Quentin Bryce
Oct 18 2017
DV has worsened in a generation: Quentin Bryce
Former governor-general of Australia Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO has spoken of her deep distress about...
Lawyers
Oct 18 2017
Academics entertain the idea of law without lawyers
Researchers from Queensland will explore some of the most disruptive trends tipped to transform the ...
Please, Continue (Hamlet), Melbourne Festival
Oct 16 2017
Hamlet suffers slings and arrows of top Victorian barristers
Victorian judges and barristers have performed the unique play Please, Continue (Hamlet) at the Melb...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...