Social media is an extremely helpful tool in the hiring process. Facebook and other social media sites can create, or not, a favorable impression.
In a 2013 survey, 90% of employers reported examining a job seeker’s social media accounts and nearly 70% said that they rejected a candidate based on their online content. The question arises whether or not this content can legally impact an employer’s decision to hire someone. Thirteen states now prohibit employers from demanding access to social media accounts. Connecticut, among more than two dozen other states, has considered, but not enacted, laws to protect employee rights and privacy.
Proponents of these laws stress that, because of individual privacy laws, it is inappropriate for employers to ask for this information. Critics argue that if a person posts information, pictures, videos, etc. on social media sites publicly, he/she should have no expectation of privacy. Regardless, employers have to tread lightly when requesting access to online accounts. Employers may lose the interest of qualified employees when the person is asked about his/her online pages. Also, there is a concern that content found on a person’s social media, such as sexual orientation, physical disability, ancestry, and religion may look like a cause for discrimination and an unfair hiring process.
Although more states may adopt privacy laws protecting social media users, it is a good idea to assume that your content is always public and to post accordingly.
Posted August 6, 2014