Asking for Social Media Log-in Information is Likely to Backfire

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If you are an employer considering asking for social media log-in information during the background check process think about the possible legal ramifications of such actions.

While this is still a very gray area in terms of legalities, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups are letting both the potential employee and the employer that they are watching this recent trend. Most employee handbooks have not caught up with this development, although Your Employee Handbook are currently researching policies to protect employers from liability.

Careful When Rejecting Candidates

Legal rumblings can become an even bigger issue should an employer be perceived as rejecting an applicant because they find something on the individual through a share or tweet.

Per example, if a business owner sees that a potential employee has certain religious convictions they are discussing on Facebook, the employer cannot turn them down due to their religious beliefs. Assuming the applicant did not discuss religion during the interview; the employer has to come up with a legitimate reason (qualifications, personality, etc.) as to why they would not hire that person, not because of some posts they saw on Facebook or another site.

With all that being said, employers must walk a tightrope here due to the fact that a negligent hire (for example, applicant made some rumblings about a past employer that could be considered threatening) could end up in a lawsuit should they hire that person, then the employee does or says something bad while under their employment. An employee could bring a liability suit against the company, claiming the employer should have known about the applicant’s questionable behavior due to some social media posts they made prior to being hired.

As an employer, it is advisable to tread carefully when asking for personal information on potential hires.

The first approach would be to look for and/or ask for a candidate’s LinkedIn information, given many applicants will be more than willing to show off their business profiles.

If an applicant is reluctant to give up a Facebook or Twitter log-in, don’t automatically discount this person during the interview process. Not every applicant that is reluctant to provide such information is a lock to be a bad hire.

With all that goes into trying to find the right people to work for you, weigh the total package, not just the social media one. 

 …More at Do You Require Facebook Passwords for Those Applicants You Interview?


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