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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Personnel and social media

Personnel and Social Media

Is it Legal?

Many employers cross the line when they perform their due diligence on prospective employers. Although it is hard to check on the employers hiring methods, the question of the legality of the proposed possibility that an employer can be looking at criteria other than just personality and intelligence to fit the right job to the right person. Federal Equal Employment Laws prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities, and prohibit bias based race, color, religion, sex or national origins, age, as well as other considerations. (Greenstein 2010)

The purpose of social media in hiring practices should be limited to an effort to improve hiring decisions. The good trained HR person can consistently and accurately assess important organizational characteristics such as personality, intelligence, and performance when utilizing social networking web sites. (Kluemper and Rosen 2009)However, it is easy to find out other information that they normally would not be able to ask in an interview due to breaking of equal opportunity laws.

An article in the NY Times detailed an event whereas an employer used Facebook to review information about a recent graduate of the University of Illinois. The employer found on his page a description of his interests: “smokin’ blunts, shooting people and obsessive sex, all described in vivid slang. (Finder 2006) “A lot of it makes me think, what kind of judgment does this person have?” said the company’s president, Brad Karsh. “Why are you allowing this to be viewed publicly, effectively, or semipublicly?”

Employers may make it a common practice to utilize social networking, however those employers continue to inadvertently learn about matters such as candidates age, marital status and other topics typically that are off limits.(Kluemper and Rosen 2009)




  1. Hi Chris
    Are you aware that the state of Maryland has recently passed a law that prohibits employers from peering at Facebook and other social media website. This law was passed on May 02, 2012.
    Here is a link to House Bill (HB) 433 & HB:
    I hope this sets a precedence for other states to follow.
    Goo dpost

  2. Although this may be true, it is almost impossible to prevent this from happening. That is of course, unless the FB user totally blocks their content from anyone other than their accepted friends. Thanks for the link though.

  3. Hi Chris
    I would agree that social engineering of the social media pages akin to Facebook will always be a source for information which the above law does not address.

    I mean, how could laws prevent social engineering of shared information?

    So in that context, I agree with you, this law will not prevent such manipulation.

    On the other hand, we have began to prevent forced divulging of personal information from our employers.

    Side note... the above laws are also not inclusive of real estate investors (landlords).. just a thought.

    The answer to the social media privacy problem exists partially with the user, but mainly with the developer as it is the developers job to create an atmosphere that protects personal information and related social engineering while making t simple for the least savvy end user... which has yet to be accomplished.
    I appreciate your time and look forward to further dialogs, thanks.