Legal Trickery – Eric A. Parzianello

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Planning A Visit To Your Job Applicant’s Facebook Page? Be Careful

Posted by Eric Parzianello on September 10, 2009

The City of Bozeman, Montana is conducting an internal investigation regarding reports that job applicants were required to list “any and all current personal or business Web sites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums,” including Facebook, and to provide personal login information for such sites. When the story first broke in June, one local Chamber of Commerce official accurately noted the danger for “a potential discrimination opportunity” in the City’s hiring process. Such access could provide information regarding the applicant’s nationality, religion and marital or family status – all of which are off limits for employers.

These social networking investigations are becoming more prevalent in all types of settings. Prospective applicants for admission to the Florida Bar may also be required to provide access to their social networking sites. The Florida Bar News recently reported that the Board of Bar Examiners adopted a policy to investigate social networking websites on a case-by-case basis.

These articles provide reasons for caution to both employers (be careful what you’re basing your hiring decisions on) and applicants (be careful what you post).

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