The Burden of Knowledge – Legal Issues Surrounding Social Media

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As a job seeker, it is important to understand how employers are using social media to recruit and screen new talent.  Over the past 5 years, the number of employers who used social media to recruit new talent went up from 34% to 77% (Segal, 2014).  Interestingly however, fewer employers report using social media to screen new applicants. In part, this decrease can be attributed to legal concerns around Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations (Segal, 2014).

The primary reason social media puts employers at risk is that online searches often result in access to protected information, such as a candidate’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or disability (Segal, 2014; Hazelton & Terhorst, 2015).  As a job seeker, it can be difficult to know if an employer has used protected information to discriminate against you during the hiring process. However, it is important to be aware of how employers should behave so you are informed about appropriate use.  If employers do not follow certain protocols, you may have grounds to question a hiring decision.

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