Social Networking And The Employment Relationship: Is Your Boss Creeping Up On You?
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There are currently over 900 million Facebook users worldwide (and counting). With increased use of social networking comes new concerns for personal privacy and control of social networking information. More and more, Facebook activity trickles its way into offline contexts, perhaps none more so than the employment context. A new trend in the hiring process is social networking background checks, where some employers go so far as to request a candidate’s Facebook password. Not only this, but the frequency of Facebook activity resulting in employment law disputes is increasing, and has even been found to constitute sufficient grounds for discipline and termination. This thesis examines the current privacy protection given to social networking information in the context of the employment relationship, highlights problems with the current legal landscape in this regard, and offers an emerging theory, New Virtualism, as a conceptual basis for the regulation of this issue going forward.