HR Compliance Update on Social Networking Sites


Use of social networking sites for pre-employment purposes - the OTHER social media policy you need to consider. 

“Hi Brenda, this is Bob in HR at the Mega Company. I just wanted to call and let you know we’ve selected another candidate for the position you applied for.”

“Wow, I’m really shocked! The interview seemed to have gone really well. Did you have a chance to contact any of my references?” asked Brenda. “I can’t imagine any of them would have anything negative to say.”

“Yes,” replied Bob, “they were very favorable. But we also viewed your Facebook page on line and that had a big impact on our decision.”

“That’s  too  bad  Bob,  guess  I’ll  be  seeing  you  in  court  after  I  file  a discrimination suit.” Brenda said as she hung up the phone.

While many employers are focused on implementing social media policies for their employees, and rightly so, there’s another aspect many don’t consider when companies use social media networks for pre-employment purposes.

How could Brenda claim discrimination against the company as the reason they didn’t hire her? They met with her so obviously they knew she was female. Here’s what the company could have discovered that they weren’t legally allowed to ask her in either her application or interview:

  • Marital status and children
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • National origin
  • Birthplace and or citizenship
  • Health issues

While the company would proclaim none of that was used in their decision, what is once viewed, cannot be unseen. Additionally, there was nothing in their application in the form of disclosure and release which provided Brenda an opportunity to allow them to view her social network pages while being considered for employment.

While it may appear on the surface that modern technology provides unlimited resources in evaluating someone for employment, the truth is, taking this approach can actually be more harmful than beneficial.

If you are interested in an in-depth discussion on HR compliance and these topics, or if you need assistance in the above-mentioned areas, please contact HR Advisors today at 877-344-8324, or via email at