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Employers are already prohibited from asking job applicants and workers a wide range of questions about their age, ethnicity, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, religion and other personal matters. So demanding the confidential login credentials of job seekers and workers -- or coercing them go online in the presence of a company representative -- may be deemed just another way of acquiring the answers to prohibited questions.
What's more, if such hiring and continuing-employment practices are allowed to stand, the constitutional right to free speech of social network users could effectively be stifled, given that social networking users would be afraid to post anything on their personal pages that an employer might deem inappropriate.
"Employers have no right to ask job applicants for their house keys or to read their diaries," Schumer said Monday. "Why should they be able to ask them for their Facebook passwords and gain unwarranted access to a trove of private information about what we like, what messages we send to people, or who we are friends with?"