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Employers asking applicants for facebook passwords: Is this legal?

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AMARILLO, Texas - Potential employers are becoming bolder when it comes to sifting through the personal information you share via social media sites.

Companies have even began requesting facebook passwords from future employees.

Is this practice legal? That's the question NewsChannel 10 took to the streets today.

There's a handful of questions employers can ask you without overstepping their boundaries and as of now, it's technically legal for companies to ask for your facebook password simply because there's no such law against it.

The battle continues to heat up as news surfaces more and more employers are asking applicants for access to their social media sites.

"I don't think its good advice for an employer or applicant to get into this area of asking for facebook passwords and user logins," Panhandle Workforce Solutions Director Trent Morris said. "I think an employer may be asking for trouble in the future by doing that."

He says most employers shouldn't ask for this information and if they do, your response should not act as a determining factor of employment.

"If that costs you the opportunity to get that job, you may be better off going down the street and finding a job with somebody else," he said.

Those we spoke with believe it's an invasion of privacy for employers to ask for such information and say they would never give their passwords out to strangers.

"I don't feel it's okay," Autumn McClanahan said. "It's a privacy issue. Even though your profile is on the Internet, you still have the opportunity to make it as private as possible."

Dawn Brown agrees.

"I just don't feel like it's necessary," she said. "If I have all the proper qualifications and skills for the job, my facebook page should have nothing to do whether I get employed with that company or not."

We also reached out to viewers via our facebook page and more than 130 of you shared your thoughts with us online. 

"If any company I'm applying to asks for my facebook password, I'll withdraw my application," Aaron Hardy writes.

Morris says there is a simple step you can take during the interview process if you feel you're being asked a question you're not comfortable answering.

"Politely decline to provide that information and then move forward with providing your qualifications, education and experience which makes you an ideal candidate." 

In addition to the controversial facebook privacy concerns, employers are not allowed to ask you questions based on the following:

-Race, age, gender, sexual orientation and marriage status

-Questions regarding mental illness

-Questions regarding past workers' compensation claims

-Inquiries pertaining to pregnant women or women planning to conceive

-Current relationships

We want to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts on facebook regarding companies asking for access to your social media network. 

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