Social Media Used in Job Screening

What Employers Should Know About Using Social Media to Research Job Candidates

Can You Use Social Media in Job ScreeningAccording to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers are using social media to screen job candidates.

The Fair Consumer Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Job Screening and Social Media

Screening results that are done by a third party, such as staffing agency or company that does background reports, constitute a consumer report. Social media information that is gathered by the agency and incorporated into the report is also subject to FCRA compliance.

Under the FCRA, consumers have the following rights (and this also applies to job applicants):

  • To consent in writing to the background check or information being gathered
  • To receive a description of the nature and scope of the background investigation that will be contained in the investigative report
  • To dispute the information obtained

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), when employers use a third party to screen job applicants or employees (a company that compiles background information), they must comply with the FCRA.

New York State and federal laws prohibit employers from basing hiring decisions on race, sex, religion, age, national origin, pregnancy and other legally protected classes.

Some EEOC Guidelines

You cannot use any of the information gathered to discriminate against an employer or job applicant. For this reason you should be particularly careful if basing your decision on problems that are more common to a particular protected class. For example, if you decided that a person with a disability would not be able to do a particular job, you should first give the applicant the opportunity to demonstrate whether they could perform the job or not.

If you decide to not hire based on the background information, you must provide the applicant with the following:

  • A notice that includes a copy of the consumer report that you used to make the decision
  • A copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” (the company selling the report should have provided this to you)

At Stephen Hans & Associates, we can answer your questions and limit your liability by helping you ensure that your hiring process complies with standard practices.

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