Employment Background Checks and Social Media

Article Date: 10/05/2012

Employment background checks and social media check yes or no.  In today’s social media world many companies are including a social media check as part of the employment background check.  Some sources are saying to stay away from this kind of background check as it can open the company up to lawsuits however other sources are saying if done correctly go ahead.

The first thing a company should is check their state employment laws to make sure there are no laws on the books to stop them from doing this type employment background check.  For example Maryland Code, Labor and Employment §3-712, effective October 1, 2012. Maryland became the first state to pass a law banning employers from asking applicants for their social media password.

The second State is Illinois, Public Act 097-0875 following is a portion of the act.

b)(1) It shall be unlawful for any employer to request or require any employee or prospective employee to provide any password or other related account information in order to gain access to the employee's or prospective employee's account or profile on a social networking website or to demand access in any manner to an employee's or prospective employee's account or profile on a social networking website.

The downside to using information from the Internet is you do not know if the information is true and correct.  Other issues are you can find out information you do not want such as race, gender and age; that information can be user against the company if they do not hire that individual.  It could be said that you did not hire me due to my age, disability or other factors

If your company decides to include Internet and social media information in your employment background checks the first thing that should be done is to discuss it with your legal counsel.  The people directly involved in the hiring process should not be involved in the research on the Internet.  The hiring decision makers should only review the redacted report that does not include such information that might be used against the company.

DISCLAIMER:

Global Information Network, LLC, articles are provided for informational purposes only. They are not intended to be comprehensive, and are not a substitute for and should not be construed as legal advice. Global Information Network, LLC, does not warrant any statements in the articles. Any statutes or laws cited herein should be read in their entirety. You should direct to your own experienced legal counsel questions involving your organization’s compliance with or interpretation or application of laws or regulations and any additional legal requirements that may apply.

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As a User You Know the Federal Employment law but What About State Employment Law?

ARTICLE DATE: 10/03/2012

As an employer you are up to date with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) employment law that is provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  But are you current with State Employment Law?  There are currently 28 States that have employment Laws that affect the User of Employment Background Checks.  Individual State Statutes and Codes should be discussed with your legal counsel to confirm you are compliant.  You can request a web link to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and individual State Statutes and Codes from your employment background screening company.

State Employment laws will cover reports such as criminal background checks, employment credit reports, employment and education verifications and more.  An Example of State Labor and Employment law is as follows.

Connecticut CT – Users – Use of Credit Report – The following are positions where a credit report is deemed substantially job related:–1) Any position with a state or federally charted financial institution; 2) A managerial position which involves the direction or control of a unit, division or agency of a business; 3) An employee will have access to personal or financial information of customers, employees or the employer if that information is beyond that presented in a typical retail transaction; 4) An employee has authority to issue payments, transfer money or enter into contracts on behalf of employer; 5) An employee has an expense account, company debit or credit card; 6) An employee has access to confidential/proprietary business information or trade secrets; 7) A credit report is required by law; 8) The employer reasonably believes that the employee has engaged in specific activity that constitutes a violation of law related to employee’s employment; 9) Catch all – the employer has a bona fide purpose for requesting or using information in the credit report that is substantially job related and is disclosed in writing to the employee or applicant.

Other examples of Labor and Employment law:

CT – Users – Use of sealed, expunged or erased records.

MA – Users – Maintenance of records.

NY – Users – Use of arrest record with no conviction.

One of the current Statutes and Code is the use of information found at a social network sites.  Maryland became the first state to pass a law banning employers from asking applicants for their social media password.

Making sure your employment hiring company policy is up to date with State and Federal laws, Statutes and Codes is a must with today’s HR department.  Call your legal counsel today!

DISCLAIMER:

Global Information Network, LLC, articles are provided for informational purposes only. They are not intended to be comprehensive, and are not a substitute for and should not be construed as legal advice. Global Information Network, LLC, does not warrant any statements in the articles. Any statutes or laws cited herein should be read in their entirety. You should direct to your own experienced legal counsel questions involving your organization’s compliance with or interpretation or application of laws or regulations and any additional legal requirements that may apply.