Requiring Social Media Information For Background Checks Is Usually a Bad Idea

“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?

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