Fired Over Facebook: Teacher’s Aide Kimberly Hester Axed After Refusing to Provide Log In Access to School
After all the recent concern over whether potential employers and employers should have access to log in to your personal Facebook account, it was practically inevitable some poor sod who’d been fired over refusing would pop up, and it appears that Kimberly Hester of Michigan is the sod in question.
Before we get to the nitty-gritty, it bears mentioning how important it is to flesh out these protections right this second in law while it’s all being decided. After all, you wouldn’t allow your boss to stand outside the kitchen window while you’re having a dinner party with your oldest friends, would you? What about allowing them into your bedroom while you and your spouse or partner cuddle after sex? (Which differs little from the soppy messages couples send to one another via Facebook’s messaging.)
Another crucial point brought to light by cases like Kimberly Hester’s is the aspect of other people’s privacy. (Just think for a second if your spouse or even your ex-lover was subjected to such scrutiny, which information of yours nosy HR departments might be privy to should they relent to the snooping. And shudder.) But we’ve examined all these angles before and we know that anyone other than yourself having access to your Facebook from the log-in angle is not only a gross and egregious violation of privacy, but also completely against’s Facebook’s TOS. In fact, Facebook prohibits it.
That hasn’t stopped spying bosses and hirers preying on desperate job seekers from demanding access anyway. And Hester, who had friended a student’s parent, found herself called on the carpet last April after the friend in question took issue with a picture she’d posted of a co-worker’s shoes and pants around their ankles. No nudity was visible, and the image wasn’t even suggestive. Here, take a look:
Crass, perhaps. But what Hester says happened after the parent complained is something we should all worry about. She explains:
“Instead of asking to take the photo down and viewing it from my friend’s point of view, they called me into the office without my union… I asked for my union several times, and they refused. They wanted me to [log in to Facebook] right then and there.”
ABC reports that Hester is in possession of a letter which reads in part:
“…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.”
Hester says the co-worker was forced to resign, and that in the intervening year, she has suffered a “nervous breakdown” and was subjected to a hostile work environment. She is seeking her job back after the Facebook firing as well as an apology from the district.