Reports have surfaced that some employers are asking perspective employees to reveal their Facebook passwords. The revelation has sparked debate about the privacy rights of those looking for work and how far employers should be allowed to go to investigate candidates. Democratic Assemblyman John Burzichelli has introduced a bill that would ban employers from asking for Facebook passwords. He spoke with NJToday Managing Editor Mike Schneider about the Facebook issue and also about the governor’s proposed budget.
Burzichelli said that while there isn’t direct data about employers asking for Facebook passwords in New Jersey, it’s possible that someone desperate for employment wouldn’t question such a request. He said that there are already standards for job applications that exclude certain questions like religion and what establishments an applicant frequents. He added that oftentimes the law is reactive, changing after certain issues come to light.
“This is legislative housekeeping,” he said. “It’s not a partisan issue, but I think it’s a significant one.”
While Burzichelli said employers like to know as much as possible about potential employees, requesting a social media password is not acceptable. “This request to have access to this kind of personal information as a matter … of filling out a job application is simply something people should not be expected to do,” he said.
Burzichelli is also chairman of the Appropriations Committee and commented on Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed spending plan, which reportedly overestimates revenue by half a billion dollars.
“Surprisingly, $500 million in a $32 billion budget is not as wide a gap as you would think from an accounting standpoint, but that’s a real number and I happen to think both forecasts are optimistic based on what we know about trends,” Burzichelli said.
He called the spending plan “uncharacteristic” of Christie, particularly the use of “one-shot monies,” which are funds that will not be available the following year. Burzichelli said the current budget proposal has $600 million in one-shot monies compared to $96 million last year. He also said it represented a 500 percent increase in one-shot monies from the last budget from the Jon Corzine administration.
Burzichelli said using one-shot monies can be problematic for future budgets. “When you take advantage of income that’s only coming one time, then next year you have to find a way to replace that,” he explained.