Backcheck 2.0 Verifications
- About Us
May 9th, 2016 | Sterling
In the age of ubiquitous social media, employers and employees alike seek to develop their brand through social media channels. Online profiles and activity can paint a fascinating—if not always entirely accurate—picture of a person: they can give insight into activities and interests, they can expose harassing or discriminatory behaviour, and they can help expose dishonesty. But social media browsing can create challenges for employers, as it can be hard to draw the line between an employee’s personal and work life online. To make matters more complicated, there is not yet a social consensus on which aspects of social media life, if any, are off limits to employers. Fortunately, through clear policies and a bit of discipline, employers can mitigate some of the risks generated by social media background checks.
What are the risks?
A number of risks may arise in reviewing applicant or employee social media information. Some of those risks include:
You must justify the necessity of any personal information you collect, and even if some social media information is reasonably necessary for the purpose of employee screening or monitoring, it is almost inevitable that you will come across other personal information that is not.
You are obligated to ensure personal information you collect and use is sufficiently accurate for the purpose. Social media information is often inaccurate or difficult to validate.
By its very nature, social media contains information about many people. While collecting your employee or applicant’s personal information, you could find yourself collecting third parties’ personal information as well, without notice, consent or a valid purpose for doing so.
In some cases, information used to make a decision about a person is subject to record keeping requirements. Are you really printing out every page you see?
How can employers mitigate these risks?
These steps, as well as consultation with a local labour lawyer, can go a long way towards reducing the risks of harming employee morale or engaging in privacy or human rights violations.
This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.