I hereby resign: An ironic look at the employer war on Facebook privacy
She logged into her Facebook as I requested, and as I followed the COO’s instructions to scan her timeline and friends list looking for evidence of moral turpitude, I became aware she was writing something on her iPad.
“Taking notes?” I asked politely.
“No,” she smiled, “Emailing a human rights lawyer I know.” To say that the tension in the room could be cut with a knife would be understatement of the highest order. “Oh?” I asked. I waited, and as I am an expert in out-waiting people, she eventually cracked and explained herself.
“If you are surfing my Facebook, you could reasonably be expected to discover that I am a Lesbian. Since discrimination against me on this basis is illegal in Ontario, I am just preparing myself for the possibility that you might refuse to hire me and instead hire someone who is a heterosexual but less qualified in any way. Likewise, if you do hire me, I might need to have your employment contracts disclosed to ensure you aren’t paying me less than any male and/or heterosexual colleagues with equivalent responsibilities and experience.”
I got her out of the room as quickly as possible. The next few interviews were a blur, I was shaken. And then it happened again. This time, I found myself talking to a young man fresh out of University about a development position. After allowing me to surf his Facebook, he asked me how I felt about parenting. As a parent, it was easy to say I liked the idea. Then he dropped the bombshell.
His partner was expecting, and shortly after being hired he would be taking six months of parental leave as required by Ontario law. I told him that he should not have discussed this matter with me. “Oh normally I wouldn’t, but since you’re looking through my Facebook, you know that already. Now of course, you would never refuse to hire someone because they plan to exercise their legal right to parental leave, would you?”
What could I say? I guess we have another hire whether he’s qualified or not. Here’s the bottom line: My ability to select the best candidates for our positions has been irreparably compromised by looking into their private lives. I’ve been “tainted” by knowledge of their sexual orientation, illnesses, religion, political affiliations, and other factors that expose us to anti-discrimination legislation. We can’t even claim that the employee improperly disclosed these matters to us, as we are the ones initiating the investigation of their private doings.
Ron Paul Facebook flamewar:
There are 89 comments on this thread, so if you aren’t in the mood to slog through Ron Paul troll bullshit, don’t bother.
Green is me, yellow is some guy I knew in high school and barely interacted with, and every other color is someone I’ve met in college, and actually consider a friend.
[TW: RAPE] Now I clicked back to my rapist’s wall for a link to his wife’s profile and sent her a friend request. I decided that my revenge would be to blow up his marriage. I planned what I’d tell her if she confirmed my request. A montage of memories flooded my head until I felt so queasy I had to lie down.
But when I looked at my computer again, I saw she’d written on my wall. She posted a sideways smiley face and complimented the photos of my dog. How could I tell her? She’d done nothing to me. My rage belonged to her husband.
So I went back to his profile page and typed a private message: “I hope that night has haunted you. I was naïve and a virgin. I see you have a teenage daughter now. Better keep her safe from guys like you.”
I wanted to hate him and hurt him but realized that the only way to be free was to let it all go. When I defriended him I felt strong. The past was the past, and my mouth wasn’t covered anymore. Dorri Olds, Unfriending My Rapist, via the NYTimes Opinionator