Employers Need to Have Social Networking Policies in Place

Can an employer refuse to hire someone who passes a background screening if, upon reviewing the applicant’s social networking habits, he or she is deemed to be “not right”? 


Though the majority companies would assert that they do, in fact, have the power to refuse to hire someone based on that person’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or MySpace rants, they should absolutely discuss the legality of such matters with an attorney to be sure they are protected.


In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article urged companies to tread carefully when refusing to hire someone because of their social networking footprints OR when firing a current employee for the same reasons.  Without a social networking policy in place beforehand, any business that does so risks Cialis litigation.


Now, this isn’t to suggest that perusing an applicant’s social networking comments can’t be included as part of the decision to hire… or not to hire.  Under most circumstances, it’s completely reasonable to see what a potential worker is like in a “relaxed” or “unguarded” atmosphere.  But other items, such as background screening results, should always be taken into the deliberation process, too.


If your organization doesn’t have a written policy regarding how you can use social networking in the job application and/or firing process, it’s time to put one together.  After all, social networking isn’t going away and is only likely to become a stronger part of the way business and personal life is conducted.


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Kristina Taylor
In 1989, Kristina began her career as a customer service representative at the newly formed American Tenant Screen, Inc. Ten years later, she pioneered tenant background screening on the Internet. As a long-standing member of the National Multifamily Resident Information Council (formerly the National Association of Screening Agencies) Kristina gains insight into the trends of the tenant screening industry to better understand the current and future needs of their clients.

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