Employment Background Checks and Social Media

Article Date: 09/14/2017

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.


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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