“Although it may not be unlawful to seek [social media] information to conduct background checks,… in most situations, it is inadvisable.” says Chris Leh of Littler Mendelson in Though Not Yet Banned, Requiring Social Media Information Is a Bad Idea.
According to Leh there are three primary reasons not to collect social media information:
- Information from a social media account is not likely to be job-related; traditional interviews, reference checks, employment testing, and background checks are sufficient.
- Social media accounts may give employers information about applicants that they would be better off not having when making employment decisions.
- Seeking social media login information is likely to open the employer to a public shaming campaign and discourage likely candidates.
Several jurisdictions are considering legislation to restrict employer access to social media information. The Maryland state legislature has already passed such a law that awaits the governor’s signature.
Employers who desire a comprehensive background check should review our article Employment Background Checks: What Do We Recommend?