California Assembly Bill AB 1844 (Employer Use of Social Media) prohibits employers from requesting employees or job applicants to provide user names or passwords for personal social media accounts, such as Facebook. California law limits exceptions, including an exception relating to employer investigations.
Employer Use of Social Media
California’s AB 1844 does not allow employers to require an applicant or employee to provide logon information to access their social media websites in the employer’s presence. However, in addition, it may be a future requirement that employers may not be able to request that they be a “friend” to an employee or potential applicant, thereby giving the employer no access to information that is otherwise available through the interview process.
The current law does not prohibit employers from researching the background of potential applicants; however, should employers look into the history of an applicant, under no circumstances should that information be a deciding factor in not hiring an applicant, and online information cannot be used as a reason to not hire a potential employee.
Employer Should Be Cautious
What this means is: employers should be cautious in conducting online searches of employees and potential applicants because such searches often uncover information that employers cannot lawfully use to make hiring decisions. Employers still have the right to hire who they choose, but the decision making process must be thoughtful and based upon the employee’s or applicant’s job experience, talent, attitude, willingness to do the job, etc., and not based upon information from Facebook such as: beer pong pictures, fraternity comments, family dynamics, religious beliefs, etc.
Suggested at this point would be to conduct multiple interviews and thoroughly question applicants regarding their job experience and willingness to be a team member to your business. Also recommended is calling all references and using intuition as a source of guidance. Further recommended is having several key management persons take notes while conducting multiple interviews, providing insight that is cumulative to the decision making process.
Further, after the decision to hire a new applicant has been made, it’s suggested that letters be sent to all interviewees explaining why they were not chosen for the job: for example: the applicant did not meet the skill set that was required; or, the applicant did not meet the current needs for the position at hand. [Read more...]