New England Law Review On Remand
v. 47 | 1
tweets, your online transactions and interactions. With over 900 millionusers on Facebook
(90% of all U.S. college students),
150 million LinkedInmembers,
and 500 million Twitter users,
your online footprint is thesecond page to a twenty-first century resume—and employers are looking.According to a 2009 study by CareerBuilder.com, 45% of companiessurveyed use social media to screen potential hires, reporting the use of:Facebook (29%), LinkedIn (26%), Twitter (7%), and blogs (11%).
In aMicrosoft study, 79% of human resource professionals responded that theylooked at online information as part of their formal hiring process.
Andyet, according to the study, only 9% of people surveyed believed that theironline personal information would have any impact an employer’s hiringdecisions.
But how much information should employers see? Is it legal to askapplicants for their social networking password to screen their activity before making a hiring decision? This Article will explore the duty ofemployers to search an applicant’s online activity, as well as the legaldangers associated with gaining access to and using this information. Thisanalysis will use current case law and traditional legal theories to examinethe potential legal risk to managers. Further, this Article suggests apotential resolution to the legal conflicts that can arise.
The Evolving Duty to Search an Employment Applicant’s OnlineActivity
Social media has expanded beyond its original purpose. Thisexpansion, according to a recent study, has turned social networking sitesinto reliable predictive tools for many employers.
In an effort to avoidhires that employers will later regret, many employers now use social
,http://newsroom.fb.com/content/default.asp?NewsAreaId=22 (last visited Sept. 25, 2012).
Donald H. Kluemper et al.,
Social Networking Websites, Personality Ratings, and theOrganizational Context: More Than Meets the Eye?
, 42 J.
. 1143, 1145 (2012).
LinkedIn Hits 150 Million Members
(Feb. 9, 2012),http://mashable.com/2012/02/09/linkedin-150-million-members/.
Will You Be Twitter’s 500 Millionth User?
(Feb. 22, 2012),http://mashable.com/2012/02/22/twitters-500-million-user/.
How Companies Use Facebook to Hire and Fire Employees
(Aug. 4, 2011), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/04/new-infographic-shows-how-companies-target-unemployed_n_918816.html.
Data Privacy Day: Perceptions Study,
6 (Jan. 2010),www.slideshare.net/PingElizabeth/data-privacy-day-online-reputation-research.
Study: “Facebook Score” Determines Job Performance, Academic Success
9 (Feb. 23, 2012, 6:39 PM) http://www.ktsm.com/print/node/50034.