Can the government make a civil service employee start a facebook account that goes out to the public?

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Can the government make a civil service employee start a facebook account that goes out to the public?

I cannot believe they can make you use your real name on the world-wide web. This is the US government. That cant be right that they can make us use our real names and anyone and everyone can google us or facebook us. What if I am hiding from an abusive ex-spouse?

Asked on November 12, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Employers, including the government, can set terms and conditions of employment. A term or condition can be that the employee maintains a social media account or otherwise is identified to the public. (There's even some reason or sense for this--e.g. as part of a transparency initiative). Many government employees, including civil service, are publically identified, even on webpages, and are not able to labor in anonymity; think about judges and the clerks and secretaries; the heads of local post offices or libraries; teachers and school administrators; many police and fire; etc. If  someone does not wish to comply with the policy about contact, communication, or social media, that person can leave the employment. Less drastically, that person can certainly talk to his/her supervisors and see if there's any compromise or accomodation, but this can be made a requirement of jobs.


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