Social Media Background Checks

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September 5, 2017

More and more employers are thinking about, or actually doing, checks of a job applicant’s social media sites, with or without, the applicant’s permission.

The jury is really out on all of this, and here is why:

Advocates of these checks believe they can learn important details about applicants that they would never learn from an application or resume. They want to know if the applicant reveals drug use, violent acts, disrespect for certain members of the community, and more on these sites. These employers feel that they have a true obligation to learn everything possible about a person before making a hiring decision.

On the other hand, employers who don’t check social media typically have one very specific reason that does make a lot of sense. On a job application, you cannot ask someone about family life, religion, sexual persuasion, ethnicity, etc. Such questions would violate any number of federal laws. However, if you viewed social media you might learn about these aspects of the applicant’s life.  These employers feel learning about something is the same as asking about it. So, they avoid any social media checks at all.

Both sides have their arguments. The Michigan Chamber’s program does not offer social media checksIf you are thinking about checking social media for job applicants, please review this process with your legal counsel. It is a delicate issue that require serious thought and analysis.

Contributed by Steven J. Austin of LABORCHEX.

Through the Michigan Chamber partnership with LABORCHEX, members get discounted pricing to employment background screening services. To learn more, please email Steven J. Austin or call him at 601-624-4321.