POLICE: Our agency will suspend background checks of Facebook

Posted at 10:02 PM, Mar 26, 2012

Under national scrutiny, and criticism, this past week has been the practice of employers requiring access to a job applicant’s Facebook account during the job recruitment phase.

Not only have Facebook executives entered the discussion, so have members of the United States Senate, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Senators have called upon the above agencies to investigate the constitutionality of any employer, law enforcement or otherwise, to access applicant Facebook accounts.

“By granting a prospective employer access to your facebook password, someone interviewing you could get access to information that’s not otherwise public,” said Sen. Charles Schumer. “Your religion, whether you’re married or pregnant, how old you are.”

“All the kinds of things that are illegal to ask in the interview process,” Schumer added.

Locally, the Virginia State Police acknowledged that part of the interview process requires an applicant to log-in to Facebook, and grant the recruiter access.

Today, the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office suspended viewing of Facebook for employee background checks, for now.

In a press release they said that although the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has declared background information scans of online and social media resources permissible, the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office will–effective immediately–suspend the practice of requesting applicants to allow screeners to view Facebook and other social media sites.

The sheriff’s office said that they will “reassess the use of Facebook in employee background screenings after the EEOC, DOJ and Congress have reviewed this matter.”