Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , , , , , ,| By
Social Media Recruiting & Using Social Media Sites
Companies are using social media sites as part of their recruiting and candidate selection process and even using social media in the workplace. With more than 88 billion Google searches conducted monthly, chances are that either your HR team, recruiters, or managers are searching the interwebs for candidates. Maybe it’s part of your regular candidate sourcing process. You search Twitter, build lists, make friends, and fill positions. Or maybe you use tools like Wink to search across social media networks by keyword. Depending on how a candidate restricts and controls their privacy on social media sites like Facebook, a recruiter or manager can learn a great deal of information that shouldn’t be included in their decision to interview or even a hire a potential employee.
What Recruiters Find Through Social Recruiting
These things are referred to as protected classes and according to the law are considered information that should not be factored into the decision-making process when a candidate is evaluated as part of the hiring process. According to Title VII, the ADA, GINA, and ADEA, these protected classes include:
- Genetic information
- National origin
So imagine if a manager Googled a candidate and visited their Facebook profile only to learn that their top perspective was 20 weeks pregnant. This position was very important and was responsible for a project that goes live just about the time that the candidate would be on maternity leave. The manager considers this information when making their final hiring decision and decides to offer the position to the candidate who is not expecting.
Social Media Sites in the Workplace
Or maybe, a company representative learns about a current employee’s family medical condition from their blog. According to their blog, the employee needs a heart transplant. Your company is a small organization and a costly surgery like this will result in thousands of dollars of expense for your company especially since they currently cover 100%. The CEO is very specific that he doesn’t want healthcare costs to increase and your leadership team’s bonus is heavily influenced by your corporate P&L. A decision is made to lay off the employee before he is added to a transplant list and a surgery is scheduled.
Unfortunately, situations like these are not farfetched and have yet to be tested in the courts system as social media is a relatively new business tool. Companies need to be prepared for a new era of discrimination claims using social media.
Have anything to add? Leave a comment below. Learn more about social media and employment law in EEOC & Workplace Discrimination.