Now more than ever, employers are using social media to screen job applicants. According to a 2018 survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to research candidates. Using social media to research job applicants can provide you with useful information, but it can also get you into trouble.
When you review an applicant’s social media account, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., you may learn information regarding the applicant’s race, sex, religion, national origin, or age, among other characteristics.
As our readers are aware, a variety of state and federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit employers from choosing not to hire a candidate based on a number of legally protected classes. Just as it would be unlawful to ask an applicant if he or she has a disability during an interview and fail to hire that applicant based on his or her disability, it would also be illegal not to hire an applicant because you observed a Facebook post in which she expressed her hope to be pregnant within the next six months.
Consider the following best practice tips for using social media to screen applicants: