A former teacher’s aide in Michigan says she’s been fired after refusing to give her Facebook password to her supervisors.
Kimberly Hester was employed directly by Less Cass Intermediate School District as an aide to a local elementary school. Last year, off work hours, she posted a picture of a co-worker’s pants around her ankles with the caption “Thinking of you”—meant to be funny—to her Facebook page.
Someone—Hester suspects a particular parent who is Facebook friend—saw the photo and complained to the school. A few days later, the district Superintendent began repeatedly asking her for access to her Facebook page. Each time, Hester refused.
Soon after, the district’s Special Education Director wrote to Hester, saying “[I]n 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 told the South Bend Tribune the district then suspended her and that she’s currently on unpaid leave.
“I did nothing wrong. I would not, still to this day, let them into my Facebook,” she said. “I don’t think that’s OK for an employer to ask you.”
There isn’t specific legislation protecting employees’ social media rights, but it’s a hot topic in Washington.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives struck down an amendment that would prevent employers from asking potential employees for Facebook passwords. In response, several senators say they’re drafting similar legislation to try again.
Meanwhile, Hester said she and her former school district are scheduled for arbitration in May.
Facebook screengrab via South Bend Tribune