You'd better think twice before you post a drunken picture of yourself at the Super Bowl party last night–employers are using the social networking website to weed out potential employees before they even get to the interview. Some employers are even demanding that employees reveal user names and passwords before hiring. While companies have long supervised their employees for questionable behavior that could reflect poorly on the company, social networking websites like Facebook are taking the notion of "big brother" to a whole new level.
The courts have yet to hash out the legal aspects of employers using social networking sites to monitor their employees, but I still wouldn't take the chance. Individuals concerned about privacy rights question employers' use of social media, especially when two people with the same name might get confused or the information on their Facebook page might be inaccurate. Nevertheless, in a survey of employers, 73% say they don't give potential applicants the opportunity to explain questionable information.
Lawyers also warn that employers should be careful when using social networking sites to sort through potential employees since personal information such as disability status, race or gender are usually discernable from these websites and are federally protected statuses. If the candidate doesn't get the job, they could cite discrimination and sue the company, forcing them to prove that the social networking information didn't influence their hiring decision.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.