In addition to asking for passwords, the AP reported, employers are asking their charges to "friend" HR managers, log on to their Facebook account during job interviews and non-disparagement agreements to prevent an employee from bad-mouthing a company through social media.
One Human Resources expert was horrified by the growing practice of prying into workers' lives through social media. "Asking a candidate to open up their private profile and network for you to see is not social recruiting," Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite, told PCWorld. "It is the old-fashioned behavior of a bully."
Whether it's bullying or not, for the most part, the behavior is perfectly legal.
"Where the government is the employer, people have Fourth Amendment rights not to be searched," Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, explained to PCWorld. "And to the extent that employers are requiring employees to hand over this information, one could argue that it's an unconstitutional search."
"Whether it violates the law for a private employer to demand or request a password is a harder question," she continued. "I think in most states right now it's not illegal."