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Screening Applicants Using Social Networking Sites - Legal or Liability?

Lorman Audio Conference

January 29, 2013


Title: Screening Applicants Using Social Networking Sites - Legal or Liability?

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EST.

Event: Lorman Audio Conference

Speaker: Les Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR)


Job applicants have long used the internet to research employers. But now, employers are using the internet to research job applicants as well. Employers and recruiters aren't only using search engines to find information on applicants but are now examining social networking sites, such as Facebook® or MySpace®. For job applicants, social networking site are places to interact with peers in any manner they choose. Entries on these sites are typically not meant for employers to view. Employers tell anecdotes of avoiding serious mistakes by using these tools. Conversely, some job applicants feel they have been denied opportunities unfairly by employers or recruiters snooping on social websites, and viewing materials out of context or web entries meant just in fun for friends.

This live audio conference will review this emerging area of employment law, examining the pros and cons of employers utilizing such tools and the legal landscape. Topics will cover how and why employers and recruiters utilize these sites. It will then cover a number of legal implications, such as problems with employers obtaining information they should not have and privacy issues. Finally, we will examine approaches that employers, recruiters and applicants may consider.


Why the Sudden Interest by Recruiters and Employers in Using Social Networking Sites?

  • Potential Online Tools for Employers - Search Engines, Social Network Sites, Blogs and Chat Rooms
  • What Employers May Find Online and How
  • Why Recruiters Also Need to Be Concerned About the Legal Landmines of Using Social Media to Source Candidates
  • Why Court Cases Have Not Yet Clarified What Employers and Recruiters Can and Cannot Do When Using Social Media for Hiring Decisions
  • The Key Differences Between a Social Media Policy for Hiring, and a Policy for Current Employees

The Legal Landscape

  • The Use of Private Behavior for Employment Decisions
  • The TMI Problem - Too Much Information?
  • Privacy in the Brave New Online World - Is Everything on the Web Fair Game?
  • What Is Real? Issues Concerning Identity and Authenticity
  • What Happened to Free Speech?
  • The Use of Third-Party Firm and the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • New State Laws Prohibiting Employers From Obtaining an Applicant's Online Passwords

Where to Go From Here

  • Approaches for Employers
  • Approaches for Recruiters
  • Approaches for Job Applicants
  • Approaches for Online Sites and College Placement Offices
  • Using the Web to Investigate Current Employees - A New Legal Minefield

Speaker Bio:

Attorney Lester S. Rosen is Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR) and the author of “The Safe Hiring Manual,” the first comprehensive guide to background checks. He is a nationally recognized safe hiring expert who was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and served as the first co-chairman. He is a frequent presenter nationwide and his speaking appearances have included numerous national and statewide conferences for “ESR Speaks.”

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