Teacher’s aide fired for refusing to share Facebook access with employer


As mentioned on WSBT, a teacher’s aide named Kimberly Hester was put on paid administrative leave and then suspended from Frank Squires Elementary School in Cassopolis, Michigan after refusing to provide direct access to her Facebook account. During April 2011, Hester had posted a  picture of a co-worker as a humorous joke. According to Hester, the photo showed the co-worker with her pants around her ankles, but the photo didn’t contain any pornography. Hester uploaded the photo at home on her personal computer and included the caption “Thinking of you” within the description of the photo.

facebook-passwordThe photo came to the attention of Lewis Cass Intermediate School District superintendent Robert Colby after a parent of a student at the school viewed the photo and complained to the school district. Colby summoned Hester to his office and requested access to her Facebook account in order to view the photo.

According to Hester’s interview with WBST, she stated “He asked me three times if he could view my Facebook and I repeatedly said I was not OK with that.” As a response to not allowing a school official access hew personal Facebook account, Hester received a response  from the Special Education Director at Lewis Cass which stated “…in the absence of you voluntarily granting Lewis Cass ISD administration access to your Facebook page, we will assume the worst and act accordingly.”

School district officials subsequently dismissed Hester from her position and Hester responded with a lawsuit against the school district to challenge the actions of Colby. The case is currently scheduled for arbitration during May 2012 and Hester is currently collecting worker’s compensation during the interim. When asked about her decision to bring the lawsuit against the school district, Hester stated “I stand by it. 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.” School district officials have not released a public statement regarding the lawsuit or the current practice of requesting employee passwords for social networks like Facebook or Twitter.

facebooks-facebookWhile the state of Michigan has no law that prevents an employer from requesting access to social networks based on the privacy of employees, Facebook’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan was recently vocal about the rights of Facebook users and stressed that employers should steer clear of attempting to access private Facebook accounts of current or potential employees. Facebook management also warned users that sharing a Facebook account with anyone is against the guidelines of the social network.

A piece of legislation that would have prevented employers from requesting  Facebook passwords was recently voted down in the House of Representatives. However, several states, including Michigan, are considering legislation designed to accomplish the same goal. According to ZDNet, Michigan State Representatives Matt Lori and Aric Nesbitt have contacted Hester in order to use her story as an example within the bill proposal that will make employer requests for social network passwords illegal. 


Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.

‘CS:GO’ goes free-to-play and players are not happy about it

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), has gone free-to-play this week in a controversial move. Players are angry that the problem of cheating will get much worse now that anyone can make a disposable account to play.
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.

Change your Outlook password quickly and easily by following these steps

Keeping your digital accounts locked up with strong, unique passwords is important, so learning how to change your Outlook password quickly and easily is one of the best ways to stay safe online.
Social Media

Hangouts isn’t being hung out to dry in 2020, Google says

According to a report, Google may shut down Google Hangouts by 2020. While Hangouts was once Google's top-tier messaging app, the app has since been neglected in favor of Android Messages.
Social Media

Tumblr bans nudity to create ‘a safe place for creative expression’

Tumblr will soon no longer allow images with adult content. The company says the change is one that's designed to help more creators feel comfortable sharing on the platform, but admits the change won't happen overnight.
Social Media

Members can share the same Story with Facebook’s new Group Stories

Facebook Group members can now view and share Group Stories. Unlike the Stories for an individual user, the new tool allows members to contribute to the same Group Story, if the feature isn't turned off by an admin.
Social Media

You can now share saved Facebook posts with a Pinterest-like collection tool

Facebook collections can now be shared with friends if you also want to allow them to contribute to the list. Facebook is rolling out an update that allows users to add a contributor to their collections, or lists of saved Facebook posts.

Broadway actor tells Kanye West to get off his phone during opening night

Theater actors can get understandably upset when they spot someone in the audience fiddling with their phone instead of watching the show. The other night that audience member was Kanye West, and he got called out for it.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.