Is it fair to use social media in screening?


Is it fair to use social media in screening?

All may be fair in love and war, but in employee-employer relationships?

That relationship is pretty up front.

Add social media into the mix, though, and even employee-employer relationships can feel complicated sometimes.

Social media pages come packed with decades of deeply personal information. But here’s the big question: is it fair for employers to use social media to check up on their prospective employees?

In Europe, the answer is a definite no.

A European Union working group just issued some opinions, saying that employers shouldn’t be snooping around social media pages of their prospective employees without “legal ground.” Other taboos include forcing friend requests or asking for passwords.

The EU group also believes that just because an employee has a public social media profile doesn’t mean an employer is legally allowed to use that information, according to information in this UK Telegraph article.

Will the United States follow these trends?

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) said in this CNN article that, in the past, some employers asked job candidates for social media passwords, but states pushed back. Some banned that practice or proposed legislation to do so. In 2016, right-to-privacy laws were up for consideration in at least 15 states.

The truth is, using social media for background screening never really provides the complete picture. It also exposes employers to legal issues, like discrimination.

Diving into the world of social media seems like an easy answer, especially when you’re curious about a candidate. But even a quick peek at social media can expose a business to risk. Generally, it’s better to skip social media screening in favor of professional screening.

Background screening doesn’t have to be a guessing game. At ClearStar, we match your company with screening specific to your needs and the laws of your state. Contact us today to get started!


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