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Background Check Expert Lester Rosen Presents Webinar on How Social Media Use During Employment Screening Can Trigger Privacy Lawsuits

By Les Rosen, Employment Screening Resources

Lester Rosen, President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a leading international employment screening background check firm headquartered in the San Francisco area, will present a national webinar for a leading business information site on employment screening on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:00 PM EST / 11:00 AM PST.

The webinar — How Social Media and Traditional Background Checks Trigger Privacy Lawsuits — is being presented by Business 21 Publishing, which provides multi-media corporate learning and employee training products. Participants in this 60-minute webinar will learn best practices to help screen employees thoroughly without violating the law.

In the webinar, Rosen — a nationally recognized expert on employment screening background checks — will address such topics as:

  • The pros and cons of using social media internet sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter and how privacy and discrimination laws apply.
  • What employers should do when they discover that a job candidate has a criminal record, a bad credit report or some other red flag.
  • The Title VII implications of background checks and credit reports.
  • The legal requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and how state to state privacy laws also apply.
  • The legal risks associated with “one button” automated background check systems.
  • What applicants need to sign before and after the background check is complete.
  • How employers should deal with independent contractors or temporary workers.
  • Considerations when conducting International background checks.

“Hiring safe, qualified, and honest employees is mission critical for any business, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to help employers avoid the risks of a bad hire,” commented Rosen. “Recruiters and hiring managers also need to understand the potential liabilities that employers can face if employment screening is done incorrectly or unfairly as well.”

Mr. Rosen, who is also an attorney, is a writer and speaker on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), pre-employment screening, and safe hiring issues. In addition, he is the author of the first comprehensive book on employment screening — “The Safe Hiring Manual: The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Imposters, and Terrorists Out of Your Workplace” — and also wrote an additional guide on the subject called “The Safe Hiring Audit.”

Mr. Rosen’s speaking appearances have included numerous national and statewide conferences. He has testified in the California, Florida, and Arkansas Superior Court as an expert witness on issues surrounding safe hiring and due diligence. Mr. Rosen was also the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), the professional trade organization for the screening industry, and served as the first co-chairman in 2004.

For more information about the webinar How Social Media and Traditional Background Checks Trigger Privacy Lawsuits, please visit: http://www.b21pubs.com/p-892-how-social-media-and-traditional-background-checks-trigger-privacy-lawsuits.aspx. More information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR) can be found at www.ESRcheck.com.

Source: http://www.b21pubs.com/p-892-how-social-media-and-traditional-background-checks-trigger-privacy-lawsuits.aspx

Social Media Policy Tips

Guest blog:  ESR invites partners to provide guest blogs.
The following is an articles on Social Medial Policy Tips: 

As Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and other such sites become more ingrained in our daily lives and habits, employers are scrambling to incorporate guidelines for responsible social media use into company policy manuals. But do all employers need a social media policy? Probably.

Your employees are already tweeting and posting comments, pictures and video. It’s up to you to outline how (or if) you want them to reference your company in such settings. Understanding that you may want to give employees some flexibility to use social media, you should at least consider some guidelines that protect your company.

Here are some dos and dont’s employers should consider when thinking about establishing social media policy.


DO: Create a social media policy that fits with your industry, philosophy and needs. Determine if your company can benefit from using social media outlets to communicate internally and with customers and/or vendors. Also consider the possible scenarios that could cause harm or damage to your company, customers and employees. This could include employees posting comments that may disparage your company reputation and/or posting negative comments about customers or clients.

DO: Make employees aware that they may be liable for content and information they post on blogs, social media sites and email. Let them know that their postings on public media sites may be monitored by the company and used as grounds for termination if it causes harm to the company, other employees and/or customers or vendors.

DO: Clearly communicate your social media policy to your employees. Include it in your new hire orientation, your employee handbook and, if applicable, your intranet and/or company blog. Have employees sign an “acknowledgement” that they read and received a copy of the policy. Ensure existing employees understand your policy in relation to proprietary and private information. Refer back to your existing confidentiality policy.

DO: Communicate how much time and when employees can access social media with company property or on their personal property during work hours. If you have a more flexible work environment, provide general guidelines (i.e. use the Internet within a reasonable amount of time without it affecting your work). Some companies may want to limit such activity to breaks (or not at all).


DON’T: Make subordinates feel uncomfortable with “friend requests.” Balance this issue carefully to determine how much you want to mix your personal social media information with your business. For example, don’t make employees feel coerced into accepting their boss as a “friend” or “follower.” Some employees may want to keep their personal pages separate from their work identity, while others could perceive favoritism if you connect with some but not others.

DON’T: Let employees post offensive or harassing language, pictures or video that impact or harm your business, customer or employees on public media sites. Employees may not be aware that some of their personal sites are open to the public, including customers, vendors, supervisors and coworkers. Your social media policy should refer to your zero-tolerance harassment policy. 

DON”T: Ignore the power of social media. Assign a person or department to monitor blogs and other social media sites to see what people are saying about your company. Respond to customer comments, deal with disparaging remarks and use it to see what others are saying about your competition. 

Brenda Gilchrist, SPHR, is principal/cofounder of The HR Matrix, a Santa Rosa-based full-spectrum management firm specializing in human resources, organization development and employee recruitment. Contact her at (707) 526-0877 or brenda@thehrmatrix.com .

Court Case on Use of Social Networking Sites

As ESR has noted in numerous presentations on the use of social networking sites, such as Facebook or MySpace for employment, this is an evolving area of law that is still waiting for lawsuits to wind their ways through courts resulting in published judicial opinions. Continue reading

Has Bozeman, Montana Gone To Far? Requiring Access to Social Network Sites Can Open up a Pandora's Box of Legal Issues

According to a story published online by the Christian Science Monitor, the City of Bozeman, Montana has “requested that candidates provide their username and passwords for social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. The application asks that candidates “list any and all current personal or business Web sites, web pages, or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs, or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc.” http://features.csmonitor.com/innovation/2009/06/19/montana-job-seekers-asked-for-facebook-myspace-logins/#comment-10827.

Although this is an evolving area of law, the City needs to tread very carefully in this area.  First and foremost, they are opening themselves up to discrimination claims if the social network site reveals an applicant’s membership in a protected group, such as race, nationality, ethnicity, religious afflation, marital status, physical condition, etc. This is especially an issue when asking for this information in the application stage where there can be an inference that such factors were used illegally to screen out candidates on the basis of their membership in a protected class. Even assuming that a review of such sites may be relevant to the job, it is best done later in the hiring process, so applicants can be assured they were considered fairly, before the City goes looking at private sites. The City should also formulate clear policies and procedures to ensure they are looking for factors that are valid predictors of job performance.  

There are a number of other issues as well to consider. For an examination of some of the reasons the use of social network site can be dangerous, see the following ESR article:  http://www.esrcheck.com/articles/Caution-Using-Search-Engines-MySpace-or-Facebook-for-Hiring-Decisions-May-Be-Hazardous-to-Your-Business.php.

Update:  According to the latest news information, the City of Boozeman has dropped this requirement due to negative reactions. However, this blog post will remain since this is an ongoing issue. 


ESR to Present on Utilizing Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Blogs and Twitter for applicant screening

ESR President Les Rosen will be presenting a webinar on May 1, 2009 on behalf of Intern Bridge called, “The Use of Search Engines and Social Networking Sites to Screen Candidates: Landmines and Pitfalls.”

Job applicants have long used the internet to research employers. But now, employers are using the internet to research job applicants as well. Employers 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 of course, social networking sites 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 Web sites and viewing materials out of context or Web entries meant just in fun for friends.

This interactive webinar will review this emerging area of recurring and employment law, examining the pros and cons of employers utilizing such tools and the legal landscape. Topics will cover how and why employers 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 and applicants may consider.

Intern Bridge is an expert at internships and is dedicated to creating exceptional new internships and improve existing internships throughout the nation.

For more information, see: http://www.internbridge.com/workshops/searchengines.htm