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Lawyers warn recruitment professionals that vetting via social media could breach data protection

As the trend of using social media in the recruitment process continues to grow, Moore Blatch is urging both employers and recruitment agents to bear in mind that information gathered about prospective employees from social networking sites can have repercussions.

Although screening using social media is easy and cost-effective, the world of social media is still a grey area in legal terms, and it would be easy for a recruiter to breach the rights of the individual.  The three main areas of concern are:

&middot         It may disadvantage candidates who do not have access to / don’t use, social media

&middot         It may invade the candidate’s privacy and

&middot         It may give rise to possible discrimination.

Moore Blatch is advising that recruiters take a look at the guidelines produced by the Information Commissioners Office on undertaking background checks on employees.  This includes recommendations that they inform employees and candidates that background checks will be made, and that this may include checks on social media.

Paul Whitaker, Partner, Moore Blatch 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.”

 

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