The Facebook Law of Illinois

In early August, Governor Quinn of Illinois signed a bill into law that makes it illegal for hiring companies to ask for the Facebook log-in information of potential employees. It has been dubbed the "Facebook Law."

In a state where the percentage rate of unemployed keeps edging up and is now at  8.9 percent, this bill could not have come at a better time.

The mentality many employers have is that if the potential employee has nothing to hide, then it is not a big deal to have access to his or her's private information.  Add to that, the high level of unemployment that creates desperate job seekers willing to give up their right to privacy in the hope that it will lead to a job offer, and the state is on the verge of a huge invasion of privacy problem.

If employers are seeking employees with good morals,there are other ways of finding out that information other than prodding through the college party photos of the job candidate. Hiring Managers can do Critical Behavioral Interviewing (CBI). CBI normally entails asking about specific job duties and how the interviewee would handle different work situations, but it can be modified to include moral situations."What would you do if you saw an employee stealing office supplies?" sounds like a great question to add to the normal repertoire.

Employers could also follow the traditional way of finding out more about a job candidate and ask for references. They could then ask the references if there have been any situations where the candidate faced a moral dilemma, and how he or she handled it. They could also interview family members or friends. People who know the candidate well.

One thing employers must remember is what Governor Quinn said about the importance of the bill. He said that “It’s important to understand that even though we live in an information world, a very fast-paced world where we can get information in split-seconds, there’s some information… that belongs just to the person...If they want to share it, that’s their business, but privacy is a fundamental right.”  Just because the information is out there, does not automatically make it relevant to the hiring process.


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