A former federal employee has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was fired because of a Facebook Like. This is reminiscent of another recent lawsuit where an employee alleges he was fired for Facebook Liking the page of his supervisor's political opponent.
If employers have access to their employee's social media accounts and they learn about an employee's protected status and they fire an employee based upon this information this may open the employer up to tremendous legal liability.
In schools, requiring student-athletes to provide access to their social media accounts may also open up schools to discrimination claims. What would happen if a coach finds out one of his student-athletes is gay because of a Facebook Like or the content posted by one of the student-athlete's Facebook Friends and then the coach discriminates against the student-athlete?
The above mentioned examples demonstrate why employers and schools should not want to be able to freely access their employees' or students' social media content. If employers and schools are unable to access this information this may lower the number of discrimination allegations and/or lawsuits. Unfortunately, there are still employers and schools that don't understand these issues and because of this lack of understanding state and federal digital media privacy laws are needed to protect employers, employees, job applicants, schools, students, and student applicants.
To learn more about these issues you may contact me at www.shearlaw.com.
Copyright 2012 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC All rights reserved.