The EEOC Hones in on Social Media for Discrimination

new_twitter_logoThis just in…when an employer relies on Twitter, Facebook and social media sites to recruit, is it going to be liable for age discrimination? What if older people are simply less likely to rely on computers for their job search than younger people?

The Wall Street Journal pointed out cases heard at an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hearing last week. Essentially they looked at the use of social media by employees, job seekers and employers who follow them. How can social media usage impact the enforcement of employment discrimination laws?

Per the piece, there are only a few cases but there’s certainly the potential for more with the significant uptick in social media use and recruiting.

The commissioner mentioned this was a “listening session” as information was gathered from employment attorneys on how to guide employers to avoid landmines that can emerge between social media and workplace issues.

It sounds like the session focused a lot on recruiting. After all, social media sites can provide a lot of information employers wouldn’t necessarily need to know from an applicant such as their age, religion or where they live. In fact, they’re not allowed to ask for this information since it’s illegal and yet bits and pieces of information such as this may be readily available thanks to social media profiles.

Federal employment laws make it illegal to discriminate based on those factors so an employer’s knowledge of it could spring from candidate allegations who may think getting passed over for a job was related to this information.