Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Employers Are Using Social Media to Reject Job Applicants

The current economic climate has been extremely brutal across the country. In many industries, a paradigm shift has occurred and thousands of jobs that have been cut will never re-appear when the economy recovers. Those companies that are hiring have a large pool of candidates to choose from. However, having the "pick of the litter" is not good enough for some employers. According to an article on MSNBC.com, some employers are not just reviewing the information that an applicant has provided, but they are also diving deep into the candidate's social media background to find people to contact that may have some "dirt" on a candidate. This is only a breach of protocol from the normal process and not illegal. However, some companies are now requiring as part of the interview process that a candidate sign a waiver not to sue if a former boss or a social media contact disparages a candidate. While the former is just sneaky, the later is downright disgusting and should be against the law.

People who need a job will sign almost anything when they are in a vulnerable position. A waiver may provide immunity to an "off-list" reference to say anything about the candidate whether true or not. When the reference is someone a candidate has chosen there usually is not much to worry about. However, this type of waiver may be forced upon a candidate for every single "friend" or "connection" that a person has in their social media accounts.

I am generally against Congress interfering with our daily lives. However, this is the type of situation if allowed to become a generally accepted business practice could undermine people's ability to obtain a job or even keep a job. Therefore, before this type of practice becomes widespread, Congress needs to step in to stop it dead in its tracks.

Copyright 2009 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.