Lawyers are warning employers, head hunters and recruitment consultants that they risk breaching anti-discrimination, privacy and data protection laws by using Social Networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Twitter to vet prospective candidates.
Moore Blatch, an employment law specialist, has urged both employers and recruitment agencies that information gathered and used about prospective employees from social networking sites can have legal repercussions, as the trend of using Social Media in the recruitment process grows.
The firm claim that the Social Media is still a grey area in legal terms, and it can be easy for a recruiter to breach the rights of the individual. Moore Blatch say the three main areas of concern of using social media are that it may disadvantage candidates who do not have access/ don’t use social media, that it may invade the candidates privacy, and that it may give rise to possible discrimination.
The firm are advising recruiters look at the guidelines that have been produced by the Information Commissioners Office on undertaking background checks on employees, and to inform employees and candidates that background checks will be made, and that this may include checks on Social Media.
A Partner in Moore Blatch, Paul Whitaker, said: “Making judgements about recruitment based on perceptions derived from social networking sites may give rise to claims of discrimination or invasion of privacy. Employers should have a policy setting out how managers and HR professionals should use social media and similarly have contractual agreements with their recruiters which reflect this.