Dust-up over Facebook privacy issue – aide suspended over refusal to hand over FB access


“Should employers have access to their employees’ Facebook accounts?” This contentious question has been making the rounds in the tech beat as of late, and has finally come to a head via the case of one Kimberly Hester, a teacher’s aide at Frank Squires Elementary School in Cassopolis, Mich. Ms. Hester posted a photo on her FB account on her own time of a co-worker’s pants around her ankles and a pair of shoes which she decided was all in good fun. Unfortunately, one of her FB friends (who is also a parent of a student at the school) apparently took offense and reported her. She was later summoned to the office of Lewis-Cass Intermediate superintendent Robert Colby, who asked to see her Facebook account. She did not agree.

“He asked me three times if he could view my Facebook and I repeatedly said I was not OK with that,” Hester told WSBT.

She then received a letter from the Special Education Director at Lewis Cass informing her that “…in the absence of you voluntarily granting Lewis Cass ISD administration access to you[r] Facebook page, we will assume the worst and act accordingly.”

The incident led to her being suspended which, in turn, led to her filing a lawsuit against the school. Her case is slated for arbitration this May.

“I stand by it,” Hester told WSBT. “I did nothing wrong. And I would not, still to this day, let them in my Facebook. And I don’t think it’s OK for an employer to ask you.”

With social networking sites becoming a fact of our daily life, is it fair for schools and other institutions to impose sanctions based on your actions on social media sites? Do schools and the place where you work have a right to levy punishments based on what’s on your Facebook account? Let us know in the comments.

Source: WSBT