Social Enterprise

Employers who check out job candidates on MySpace could be legally liable

According to Workforce.com, a site that helps HR reps stay current with all matters HR, employers who use the data available on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to make hiring decisions could be subject to charges of employment discrimination and litigation.

If a potential employer uses a social networking site to check out a job candidate and then rejects that person based on what they see, he or she could be charged with discrimination.

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According to Workforce.com, a site that helps HR reps stay current with all matters HR, employers who use the data available on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to make hiring decisions could be subject to charges of employment discrimination and litigation.

Employers could be accused of using the data on such sites to cull minorities, homosexuals, and other applicants who are members of protected class. It is even illegal in some states to make a job decision based on applicants' political activities, a factor that would be easy to find out on a social networking site.

From the site:

A survey of about 350 employers in October 2007 by New York-based Vault.com, a media company focused on careers, found that 44% of employers use social networking sites to examine the profiles of job candidates, and 39% have looked up the profile of a current employee.

Although "failure to hire" lawsuits are rarer than other kinds of employment litigation, their numbers are expected to increase due to the growing use of social networking sites. There's always a time lapse between problems that arise because of technology and legal precedents that address them.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

179 comments
amit5151
amit5151

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ToR24
ToR24

I'm sorry, but what relevant case(s) are you referring to? Again, I reassert that the author has cited no relevant cases that can be used as precedent to make this argument valid.

ToR24
ToR24

To the Author: This article is speculative and has no basis in fact or precedent. "If a potential employer uses a social networking site to check out a job candidate and then rejects that person based on what they see, he or she could be charged with discrimination." Please cite relevant cases that support your assertion. Has anyone rejected a candidate for employment due to news story, posted material, or any information available in the public domain, then been charged with discrimination based solely on that information? I couldn't readily locate any cases that support the premise that information available in the public domain can be grounds for a discrimination lawsuit.

Tech D
Tech D

That's too much investigation, using social network to find out about a candidate when you can simply have a separate interview to ask those in depth questions. Maybe some jobs need that kind of curiosity about candidates but hopefully IT never needs such intensity.

reisen55
reisen55

Anybody here going through a divorce? I was moving a lawyer's network to a new office a few weeks ago and one tactic used is to check out clients and opposing clients on myspace. This attorney learned that his client (male) had an ex-to-be wife claiming poverty. On MySpace it was uncovered that she was living with a rich boyfriend and had everything in the world. MySpace is public data. Treat it so.

seth
seth

I'll leave all the debate to the few jailhouse lawyers here already. Just be aware a LOT of universities are doing the same thing before admitting students. Soooo. those that act like a moron in public will appear to be a moron to the public.

herlizness
herlizness

Taking a step back from the sound and fury over this issue, I think the real problem is an IT job market which is out of balance ... if supply and demand WERE in balance, HR people would bit be in any position to spend endless anounts of time parsing people's largely insignificant social network profiles and blog comments.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Most HR departments are savvy enough to use the data and not get jammed up.

technogeek-1995
technogeek-1995

That is BS. It is your fault for posting rude or nude or racist things. YOU POSTED, YOUR FAULT!!! What is next, is it discrimination if you don't have the right credentials; NO. HYPOTHETICALLY, If they hate Mexicans and your a Mexican, the owner won't hire the Mexican Hater. This is just more liberal BS.

cyberrider1
cyberrider1

You just have to realize that anything you put out is "public domain"...be aware that ANYTHING you put out can come back to bite you later...even years later. Before you do or post anything, wait a couple days & think about it...very carefully. I don't believe it's right for someone to be fired for what they do in their spare time, or what they did in college, but nowadays that's what's happening with frequency. A poll recently taken showed that quite a few companies now run internet searches on employees for pictures/blogs and whatnot. And it's only going to increase. It used to be if you made an idiot of yourself, it just stayed in the local area. Now the whole world knows. Pass out drunk & whizz your pants...that'll be a nice pic for the headhunters to see when they consider you for a job. It's not right for them to judge on that...but it's happening. Like I mentioned...3 people were fired at a local company just because they had negative comments about the place they worked on their my space pages. It's sad, but that's the way it is. Think before you post...that's all you can do & hope for the best.

bigred0283
bigred0283

I was fired due to images I had on my myspace page. I had pictures from a recent cruise I went on, some of the pictures were quite racy and had pictures of me consuming large quantities of alchohol with scantilly clad women. My employer said those activities were unbecoming of an employee of that company and I was let go. The main reason being, on my main page, I had my employment status and the name of the company I was working for. What's the legal precedent in that?

kabennett
kabennett

"Failure to hire" is so subjective and just a basic fact of life. I was recently relieved of my duties so that they could hire "a writer instead" due to need and economic situations though the underlying reason was my pregnancy. The nice catch is that I was working for a firm that only had 9 employees so they don't have to follow with EOE proceedures because they don't have the minimum of 15 employees to qualify for the government to deal with them. Now I am stuck in the job search, clearly pregnant, and even if I am the most qualified on paper will not be offered the position. So how does reviewing my social networking profiles differ from seeing me in person to make the same decision? It doesn't. It just saves the hiring company and me valuable time that would be wasted in a face to face interview. The laws can be there but they don't get enforced like they should and good people get discriminated against. It's just a fact of life and we all need to have tougher skin and quit expecting the government to take care of us. We're not children so stop acting like it.

T-Cally
T-Cally

I think if you made it public domain then you granted me the right to review you and if your nose and loop ring don't fit our/my companies image then I have the right to refuse you. Where is it written that you have to hire once they submitted an app? Now as an African American, if a company doesn???t want to hire me based on skin color, be real I probably wouldn???t want to be there anyway. But not hiring due to FICO score, now that is lame, but companies do it.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

What is done on the job and your behavior at work should be kept separate from your personal life. I'd bet everyone here knows a fellow employee who has a great attitude and is an excellent worker while at work that leads a completely different life on his or her own time. My question is: so what? If you get drunk or do stupid things on your own time and decide to share them with the world, so what? That says NOTHING about you as an employee. Your work record and your references should speak for itself. If you have an excellent work record while at work, but attend some rally somewhere and it appears on You Tube, it is harassment for a current or prospective employer to take action. My point is this...What you do in your personal life, on your own time, using your own equipment should have NO EFFECT on your professional life, position, or prospective job. It is a highly discriminatory practice for employers to "scout" prospective employees by looking at their MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. profiles. It is even more of a discriminatory practice for employers to keep tabs on personal lives of current employees. These practices can lead to discrimination or harassment of a prospective or current employee.

cyberrider1
cyberrider1

It is not unusual for employers to Google a persons name and refuse to hire them because of the pic they or someone else posted of them naked/drugged/passed out drunk & other "compromising" positions. And it IS hard to prove that in courts. Recently 3 people at a company I won't mention were fired and these 3 people had all posted on their facebook pages various negative comments about the workplace such as "working at this place sux". Totally illegal in many ways (In my eyes at least, free speech is supposed to be protected), but hard to prove thanks to many states laws that give the employer the right to fire you for no reason at their slightest whim.

ID.10.T
ID.10.T

Many companies perform background checks. To my knowledge, background checks are not illegial AND I'm willing to bet that most employers have a prospective job candicate give their CONSENT (in writing) for a background check. I see social network sites as a good research tool and extension of the background check system. If people don't want to be judged on their "so called" personal behavior, then they have the highest responsibility to keep their business private and out of the public domain. They don't make pills for stupididy and no one else can save you from yourself.

JZepp
JZepp

While citing Web sites like MySpace and FaceBook to make this sound like it is news, the real point is that hiring decisions based on irrelevant personal characteristics is discriminatory and illegal, no matter where the information comes from. It is disappointing that Workforce and this blogger must stoop to this level to get attention. Employers and organizations are expected to exercise due diligence in making hiring and other selection choices. If someone had expressed violent or criminal intents in one of these Web sites and then carried these acts out on fellow employees or customers, wouldn't the media and public be outraged as they were with the Univ. of VA killings that various warning signs were not shared or were ignored? The goal is to balance desires for fairness and privacy with sensible precautions that protect the public. Furthermore, what if the information obtained from a Web site indicated that a candidate had lied about his/her qualifications or job history, which does happen. If this is confirmed, shouldn't an employer act on this knowledge?

rafaelm
rafaelm

If you have a doctorate in astrophysics and are applying for a job in the astrophysics department at Nasa, what are the chances that you didn't get hired because you happen to be a Vietnamese midget hooker with a profile advertising this on MySpace? Will that side business have an effect on your job at Nasa? Did you not get hired because of the side business, or because the interviewer is a past client? I think you definitely have to be careful about what you post online, and you have to be mindful about what could potentially be seen and how it could be interpreted. After all, anything you say can and will be used against you at some point in time. For the record, I didn't know she was your sister.

That_IT_Guy
That_IT_Guy

Exactly when did sexual confusion - i.e. homosexuality - become a protected class? I personally want the best I can find and don't care. I am just asking when this became law. Good luck proving an employer took offense to your political stance or whatever. If you are immature, rude, crude or perverted, I reserve the right not to hire you, period. This sounds like another gen-Y, and after, whining issue where they want respect they haven't earned.

etkinsd
etkinsd

The next thing you know, companies, recruiters, and their hired background investigation companies will be using juicycampus and the other gossip websites. HR department personnel will need better screening to ensure only the most ethical get hired.

herlizness
herlizness

> fair enough, but there's a difference: when this lawyer uses the information in court, the other side will KNOW that it's being used and will have ample opportunity to rebut it; when HR uses it, it's a stealth operation and people have no idea they were rejected because of the content of their web profile, blog, etc

PsiFiScout
PsiFiScout

If a university is so petty as to dig up dirt on students by going to Myspace and Face book, I don't think I would want to attend such a school. There are a lot of schools out there that are more concerned with getting the cash then worrying about the past actions of prospective students. If I were looking to enter Harvard and discovered that they were going to use Facebook as a part of a background search before letting me in, I believe, I'd be telling them to shove their application forms and take my money over to Yale. But then for most of the public, neither Yale nor Harvard are viable options anyway, and the state U of Whatever is more inclined to overlook anything but a felony conviction if the student has good financing.

PsiFiScout
PsiFiScout

If a company refuses to hire and is dumb enough to say why or fires someone for info found on a community site, should be ready for a lawsuit if the employee has any balls. If a person has info on their website and the company pulls it in and the data is phony or merely a fantasy posted by someone, there is such a thing as rules of evidence. I have posted several comments on various subjects on "urkut", "Myspace", etc. some of it factual, some merely wild speculation. If my employers tried to fire me simply for having a random thought made public, they should be prepared for a lawsuit, and I'm quite sure that a judge worth their salt is going to look long and hard as evidence presented that under most circumstances will be ruled as Hearsay evidence. Many businesses would rather keep an employee on and doing their job provided they are keeping up production standards, rather than a public airing of dirty laundry that may result in a public display of the company looking like a vindictive headhunter on their own employees. I have seen several (mainly small businesses) lose so many employees that they were to the point of nearly going under, merely because employees didn't like the company's "unofficial" policies once the policies became public information. The idea that a company can simply run roughshod over prospective employees, simply because they are "The company" is nice fantasy, but reality is ain't.

nancyjones36507
nancyjones36507

If I saw a profile online of someone smoking a bong, I'd be sure to NOT hire that person, because I can't think of a business I'd actually work in where that would be a beneficial attribute in my employees. If I were out in public and I heard someone drunkenly badmouthing their company, I'd likely be on the phone to that company's HR dept the next day to advise them of it. If you want a private life that nobody has access to, keep it private. If you want a professional life keep it professional. If you live two different lives, neither one is true and genuine, and both are partially lies. Integrity is not something you can flick on and off like a light switch. Either you have it or you don't. If your personal life reflects integrity, I want you in our organization, becuase I won't have to watch over my shoulder because of you, you'll be helping me do it. If your private life reflects a complete lack of integrity, I want nothing to do with you because if your private life lacks integrity, your ENTIRE life lacks integrity.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]What is done on the job and your behavior at work should be kept separate from your personal life. [/i] If you smoke off duty, that could lead to higher insurance premiums for the employer. Is he supposed to just eat these additional costs? (personally, I think that employers shouldn't offer health insurance... instead giving the employee extra wages and letting them buy their own.... but I wanted to see if you have a different answer)

darius
darius

The new left right paradigm in your eyes seems to be.. myspace, facebook on the left linkedin, monster on the right Public information is public information regardless of how you choose to represent yourself. Employers will hire based upon your competence and competence includes your ability to know the difference between the public domain and private information.

ckizziar
ckizziar

I agree with you that the reason for terminating the employees is quite stupid, the employer does have the right to terminate them for it. Freedom of speech is only protected from Government censure, and even then there are exceptions. When I served in the US Military I was under sworn oath not to disparage the Air Force, Department of Defense, or US Government on or off duty hours. The employer has the right to terminate the employees, but if I were a manager trying to run the most efficient business possible, I would perhaps instead tried to find out why working for my company "sux," and if it is a legitimate complaint, perhaps look into creating a better work environment for my employees. While you have the occasional individual that is miserable at life, most often if you find one or two that are miserable at work, they are far from alone in the organization, and most of those miserable individuals are probably giving the company just enough to not get fired, probably working at 50% of their true talent and capacity. Yet, most employers would still tell you that it would be "too expensive" to make their employees happy.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

Social networking sites can be forged as has been mentioned repeatedly. You can do a background check. The VA Tech shooter had shown a deteriorating ability to cope that had been ignored. This was not something people found out by Googling him or looking on social networking sites, even though he could have put the information there had he desired to do so. They knew it because of PERSON TO PERSON CONTACT. People who should have reached out to help him instead chose to let it go. They are as responsible as he is. Not because they didn't check his social networking page but because they did not reach out and try to help. Mental illness is generally a biochemical imbalance that can be helped, like any chronic illness, by a combination of medication and personal contact to help with coping/adjustment. It's no different from type I diabetes or MS, it just is scarier because people are not sure what to do. But professionals ignored the obvious signs of a need for help. Most of the school shooters were bullied until they reacted by shooting those who persecuted them. Where were the people around them who were supposed to stop the bullying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure for this sort of thing, and most of the violence you cite came from violence and/or mental illness and people ignoring clear signs that the person needed help - signs seen from REPEATED PERSONAL CONTACT not Googling the person. And it didn't come from reading myspace or facebook.

afrancis
afrancis

I'm either Gen-Y or Millennial, depending on which version of the year breakdown you look at. In my experience, having grown up surrounded by computers and technology (my mom works in IT), there are certain facts Gen-Y and after really SHOULD know about this technology as it had to be integrated into their education somewhere along the way (even in grade school). The WORLD WIDE web is just that - accessible all around the world. If you have pictures that make you look bad and post them online, you have to know that a boss, relative or even child could run across them. I personally am not a wild and crazy type of person. My idea of exciting is trying to make sushi at home after watching Masuharu Morimoto make some on the original Iron Chef (the one in Japanese) and not really having a recipe to follow. And the craziest I get is wearing Halloween costumes in public or to work, when allowed. When I don't get an interview, I figure that I probably don't have the level of experience they're looking for, they're looking for different types of experience, or they want someone with lower or higher degrees of education. I have a Masters Degree and when I see that a job requirement is an Associates Degree, I generally don't apply because it's not going to be the type of job I'm looking for and I'm going to be over qualified in the eyes of the prospective employer. I don't think all Gen-Y's and after are looking for respect they haven't earned. I think today's job market is extremely hard for those members of Gen-Y and beyond with advanced degrees because of the way older generations are working far longer before retirement. Therefore, the positions that would have been available with people traditionally retiring at 65 aren't going to appear for another 5-10 years. Maybe there are some people in Gen-Y and beyond who decided not to pursue an education and feel entitled to "what everyone else has", but there are some people like that in every generation. The workforce of Gen-Y and beyond that I have worked with are extremely driven, hard-working and innovative. Usually they are the least resistant to change and welcome ways to improve and streamline processes to increase efficiency. If this is truly representative of what Gen-Y can bring to the workplace, it should be interesting to see what happens once the positions for which we are qualified begin to open up and Gen-Y's potential and drive is fully revealed.

darius
darius

With your concern about privacy you would make a good Interaction Designer, companies need people like you to ensure that their products don't violate their privacy policy. Just think for a minute that you could be responsible for giving millions of people the tools to protect their digital identities around the world. Think about the children who are victims of human trafficking, that is certainly information to protect from employer discrimination.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

They give them practically unlimited breaks and blame overweight people for all their higher insurance costs while the fatties do the smokers' work in most cases. More likely, higher health costs are due to the stress in the US of one person trying to do the work of 2 - 5 people at once, under threat of termination in many places, to keep the bottom line looking good. And for CEO salaries which are out of control. Tell me you have never done anything bad for your health in your life and I'll laugh at you. Not possible. While people are getting on the case of smokers and fat people, assuming the worse with health premiums, many times they are secretly engaged in risky behaviors - including recreational drug usage - that will drive up insurance costs a lot more than the fat people will. By the time they're discovered, they've probably loaded their workload onto a ton of people and found some way to blame the employer for it and take credit for others' work. And if they are at the "professional" level, they will probably not be drug tested to see if that's the problem; most places do not want to test their professionals and many don't have a legal facility in which to do the testing. I have heard a lot of people confess to that sort of drug usage where I could not tell anyone (in my former occupation, not current) due to HIPAA. So how would you know? Many professionals use recreational drugs - but they are still not legal and they have to commit a crime to obtain them, even if they seem to be performing well. Which makes them, techinically, criminals. And they are rarely stupid enough to post that on MySpace. I have a better solution for health insurance: Give companies tax breaks for providing it, and CUT the tax breaks for sometimes billion dollar CEO salaries. The tax break corporations enjoy for overpaying CEOs who sometimes wreck companies and impoverish them, get fired, and go on to another lucrative job ruining another company is ridiculous. Shift them to benefit the ordinary person. The smoker and fat person can't do near as much fiscal damage to a company as what they're paying these CEOs and how they often rob a company or simply mess up badly or commit outright crimes. Some are good, yes, but they're cutting costs by cutting jobs and benefits while living high on the hog. They deserve a lot for the risks and responsibilities, but not THAT much!!!! It's no wonder people feel discriminated against for various things; they see people like the CEOs of companies like Enron who get off with time in a posh prison and a slap on the wrist if they do any time at all, sometimes after bilking companies of millions. While these same CEOs want to check the housekeeper's MySpace profile to make sure they're not a terrorist, they are often stealing tons of money as well as getting paid way more than they are worth. Some poor slob that knocks off a convenience store gets more hard time than these guys do. Neither crime is right, but the punishment certainly never fits the crime.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]Public information is public information regardless of how you choose to represent yourself.[/i] You don't know [b]who[/b] chose to represent [b]whom][/b]. Scenario: A recently divorced man applies for a position. Unknown to either the manager, or the applicant, the applicant's ex-wife makes a myspace page with this man's picture and name on it (oh, by the way, the page also mentions that he likes to have sex with animals). The manager googles his name and finds the page. Is the manager going to hire this man? Probably not. Is the manager going to state the reason he didn't hire the man? Probably not. How many other applications will this man put in before he either finds a manager who didn't see the page, finds a manager who will tell him the real reason he wasn't hired, or finds the page himself? Who knows?

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

Forgeries happen. Jesus was certainly vilified, I wonder if the Sanhedrin might not have really trashed Him by posting a fake MySpace/Facebook page if He had started out in our time and not when He did? They still did a pretty decent job without technology. Jewish people are still repeating what the Sanhedrin said about Jesus 2000 years ago, and they believe it to this day (as was prophesied by the Lord Himself). Googling a person or checking social networking sites to form an opinion of them is like listening to the Sanhedrin's take on Jesus. You're gonna miss some good stuff doing that, at least in the opinion of Christians. The Jewish people, whom I love and pray for with all my heart regardless of how they feel about my Lord, would debate our take on our Lord wholeheatedly - and your claims of faith tell me that you already know this, or should. So employers should spend that time better, getting to know someone personally as best they can with the time they have. I stand by this: Person to person contact is the best way to determine a person's worth to your organization and fit for the job, and lengthening that a bit will allow the person to let their guard down and give you any hints about the type of worker they were at their former jobs. It's a far better use of a hirer's time than using social networking sites. By the time you get through with the types of thorough interviews I had for my last 2 jobs, I was way too tired to keep up any pretenses and would have let something slip if I was not a good fit. So would THEY. Person to person is still the best way to determine suitability for a job. That's a much better way to spend hours than trolling the Internet for dirt on a potential hire. It's not a good idea to expose your whole life on the Web, true. But you have to be wary of forgeries. No way for you to know so get to know the PERSON.

kpetuck
kpetuck

Bamyclouse hit the nail on the head. Most of you are wonderful as young people of all generations have been from the beginning of time. Us old farts with our rigid thinking are missing being young, I think, as our parents did before us. However I will say there are more oportunities for young people in my field part of the country than there were when I was young, (which was during the Regan years). There are many young people with Batchelors Degrees doing jobs that didn't exist but that I would have loved when I graduated. I don't know exactly what effect us old folks working longer is having on your career, but there are also some factors that are better now is all I'm saying. k

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

I am a boomer, and when I see members of my generation busting on their kids/grandkids who are not as wild as they were in their youth, I just say, "Remember what YOU did as a kid in the 60s?" Of course they always deny ever doing anything stupid. As if. All young people make mistakes and have since the dawn of time. We're not perfect. I think that boomers busting on millenials is the ultimate hypocrisy. We wanted respect when we were shouting down the institutions of our parents and grandparents, and we didn't get it unless we proved ourselves. Yet we make it even harder for millenials to get cut a break. I am so sick and tired of boomer-tude. Drop it, guys. We all did dumb things as kids, and had we had social networking sites, we'd probably have posted them and wondered why we didn't get hired... C'mon, hip hugger bells, miniskirts, halter tops, that was our generation that brought these things in. Torn up jeans with peace patches, tie dye, that's our contribution - along with the type of sexual promiscuity that has led to rampant drug resistant forms of venereal disease, dissolution of the family as a basic societal unit, an upswing in lifestyles we claim we don't approve of, etc. Boomers have a LOT to answer for, we need to apologize for the world we have done more to worsen socially. Even though we did help get rid of pollution and such, we have polluted social institutions. To all the millenials out there: For what it's worth, my apologies for my generation's double standard hypocrisy.

marathoner
marathoner

Anyone posting a picture of themself doing anything illegal or talking about it in a public place reveals that they are monumentally stupid. I would TOTALLY google a potential employee before hiring them. I would totally discriminate based on what I might find on myspace. I don't care what color or religion or sexual orientation they are but I do care about their attitude and ability to learn the job. If I found NOTHING at all about the person I would be suspicious -- either they are completely nonsocial or they are covering their tracks. If they had a normal myspace profile with the normal myspace crap on it it probably wouldn't affect me. If they had anything illegal I would not hire them because they are STUPID!

ckizziar
ckizziar

I agree, especially with the statement that the current "infant" generation is less resistant to change, and it's been that way through the course of history. It's a simple fact that young people bring change. A child's mind is always the most open, and has the least ability to see things in black and white, the grey area is massive and questions answered with "you just don't" or "you can't" are unimaginable. I hope that I can withstand the pattern, but it clearly is such, that the older we get the more closed minded we get. Above all I've always held fast to not judging people. If there is any type of person that I am guilty of judging, it would be those too closed minded and judgmental to make the acquaintance of great people that are "different." I could be wrong, but I am going to make an assumption that Greg Pack fits into that category. The comment about gender/sexual confusion is personally repulsive to me. I have many friends that are various forms of not "straight," and they are some of the best people I know. Perhaps it has become a "Protected Class" because for some unknown reason people have perverted it as un-natural and wrong. Homosexuality was celebrated by the ancient Romans, Greeks, Incans, Chinese, and many more. It is only in recent history that it has become unacceptable. I would venture to say that the timetable probably coincides with the Roman Catholic Church employing "creative editing" practices on their instruction guide to best suit its needs, opinions, and desires for its followers. I consider myself a Christian, but I keep an open mind and believe that one of my true callings is to keep my faith true to God, not to closed minded manipulative people. Just my.....well I think I'm up to 8 cents, maybe a dime by now.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

I agree human trafficking has to be stopped, of ANY innocent of any age, and it's not just children; it's young women and sometimes men, lied to that they will be going to a better place or kidnapped and missing for a long time. Pedophiles need to be stopped, and I don't think capital punishment is too light a sentence for things like this. I despise this type of thing. That, however, is a job for a woefully understaffed criminal justice system, which is sometimes going too far in the wrong direction to find the perpetrators. More people and less sleepless nights would go a long way toward going in the right direction in law enforcement. But I don't think that you're going to find on a social networking site: "Hobbies: Reading, surfing, human trafficking, and arms dealing, drugs available on request, pedophiles welcome to inquire." Please. No HR person could find a human trafficker by checking a social networking site. If an applicant had that on their website or social networking site, I'd strongly suspect they might have really ticked someone off somewhere along the line and that the information was planted! If it ended up true, you'd have interviewed possibly one of the stupidest crooks on the planet, and I am sure if they were that blatant on a social networking site or web page, they'd sure as heck slip up during the interview beyond what you'd consider a 'foot in the mouth' moment.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]I have a better solution for health insurance: Give companies tax breaks for providing it, and CUT the tax breaks for sometimes billion dollar CEO salaries.[/i] I didn't realize you were one of them. Why on earth should anyone be responsible for MY health care besides ME? Should I be allowed, for example, to participate in what I KNOW is a dangerous activity, and have my employer (or anyone else) be responsible for paying for the consequences when that activity puts me in the hospital? Next, take the entire salary of every CEO in the country, add it up, and give an equal share to every person in the country. How much medical care could you buy with your share? I would say more but the last guy who said it got booted, so I'll just think it :)

darius
darius

Personal referrals make better hires.

darius
darius

All of your knowledge and nuances of your personality are things that I would certainly welcome as value added to my organization. A creative environment is far from creative without each person having a unique story of their own, bringing their own individuality & talents to the table. But like any other employee, I would expect you to clean up your junk, and these days that means doing a Google search on yourself and seeing just how much of your new self is being represented inaccurately. Know your digital identity and have an answer for the things that are publicly accessible about you. Cleaning up your junk online has become the new form of putting on a suit and tie for an interview in the new millennium.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

What if I get saved after I write that book or article? Are you going to hunt for any retractions or just assume I am that person today? And what if no publisher will take the retraction because they don't believe it or believe I am faking my conversion? Or because retractions don't make as much money as controversial writers? How long will it take me to rebuild trust that I am not a horrible racist person anymore? I sure am no longer going to want to work in an environment full of people from my old life when I have become a new person in Christ. And...WHAT IF I NEVER WROTE THE ARTICLE? What if someone used my name, stole my identity? And I have not been able to prove it, to clear my name? It can take much more than 5 years! You see, you just can't believe everything online; it's like believing everything in a supermarket tabloid. Sure, you might want to ask about it, but I don't think it's a good idea to make a final judgment on that until you have gotten to know the person and can see if, as in your example, they really hate everyone (and anyone who belongs to the KKK hates themselves most of all - I often wonder who they'd kill if they actually DID get rid of everyone they hated? The answer: each other). Although some patterns don't change, many do, F2F in person contact is still the best bet. I am big on using technology for information, for help on the right questions to ask, say, a business about a product or a physician about treatment, but I use it as a tool. People are often using it as their sole basis for doing something, which to me is the same as reading a newspaper horoscope and basing everything you do on it. Even if you believed in astrology (I used to be involved in Wiccan before I got saved and was pretty well versed, my father having been in it all his life), you would not believe a newspaper horoscope; you'd know the basis of that faith is to have a really good horoscope drawn up by a real person who first gets to know you. And the basis of witnessing for the Lord is getting to know people. So now, Mr. Believer, let's go to this theoretical situation: I apply to you for a job. Will you deny me a position if I apply to your company because I know a lot about witchcraft and the occult from being involved in it when I was young? Or are you going to say, praise God she was saved out of that, and she knows the enemy well enough to know how to fight his influence? I will certainly read the link; I love new information and learning; but I have been prejudged all my life for something or other (like being the child of a divorcee in the 50s and 60s) and I will fight to the death anyone or anything that relates to prejudging a person based on a social networking site or a posting. And I will forever praise the Lord for employers who look beyond that type of thing and get to know the PERSON. I was fighting racism long before I could legally vote, even when I was looking into witchcraft (I guess I knew Satan is also an equal opportunity employer, just like God's, but God's retirement plan and working conditions are a WHOLE LOT BETTER, I should know!). Judge a person by who they are F2F, not virtually only, allowing things to precolor your perceptions and not being really truly able to LISTEN to them. As believers, we have to set an example. We can be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves" without listening to gossip or possibly some insecure kid who hasn't done half of what he or she posted on myspace or facebook to look cool, or what someone lied and posted pretending to be them.

darius
darius

We could begin an entire new thread on F2F working relationships vs. virtual working relationships. I agree that character can only be determined through experience working with the person, but the interviewing process is filled with doubt from previous bad experiences, and hope about a coming potential good one. The human factor can't be removed from the interviewing process, if I happen to come across an article you wrote 5 years ago about your affiliation with the klu klux klan, that will sway my opinion of you whether you like it or not. Here's a great book on building platforms for co-creation with virtual teams.... http://www.core77.com/blog/book_reviews/book_review_higher_creativity_for_virtual_teams_developing_platforms_for_cocreation_by_steven_p_macgregor_and_teresa_torrescoronas_7221.asp

PsiFiScout
PsiFiScout

As a native born Oregonian (I left the state due to military service, and never returned due to idiots running the realestate market to the moon) I am embarassed that someone from that state would be so silly as to base any judgement of people on a MySpace page. I might look at a persons page to see whether or not they were totally devoid of creativity, based solely on the overall appearance of the page, but to take any data from the page as being in any way serious has to be one of the most rediculous ideas ever put forward.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

"If I found NOTHING at all about the person I would be suspicious -- either they are completely nonsocial or they are covering their tracks". Tell me - is having a MySpace profile listed as a job requirement or even a nice-to-have? Some people don't have cars, cats, dogs or spouses and no one - with the possible exception of you - has much problem with that. Why is a regard for one's privacy a red flag to you? Remind me never to move to Oregon. I would hate to run the risk of your deciding whether I should get hired for anything.

herlizness
herlizness

If I found NOTHING at all about the person I would be suspicious -- either they are completely nonsocial or they are covering their tracks you're paranoid, dude ... please update all of YOUR social network profiles to reflect this so prospective employees can screen YOU out .... thank you ..

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

I have nothing to hide, but aside from an occasional binge posting like this, I don't post my life on the Internet, so you would think I had something to hide because I am not on social networking sites. If I did post, or someone posted something false in my name, you'd be gullible enough to believe it without even trying to find out if it was true. Do you by any chance subscribe to and religiously read/believe info in supermarket tabloid articles? Or do you just believe there are half-donky, half-human beings or aliens in disguise and you won't hire someone who might be one? Oops, I forgot, most politicians have to be aliens in disguise; they sure can't be from Earth and do the stuff they do! ;) Note: For those of you who are very literal: The above was a tongue-in-cheek aka sardonic comment on politicians, not an accusation they are not from Earth - even though there are times that I wonder!

herlizness
herlizness

tolerance for change has a lot more to do with situational capacity to navigate it than it does with age per se; "young" people typically, though not always, tend to be traveling a little bit lighter through life .. they have fewer obligations and more years left to correct mistakes ... in short, you cannot meaningfully compare the situations of a 24 year old single, childless, apartment-dwelling woman with that of a 48 year old married woman with two kids in college and $560K mortgage to meet. When someone tells the latter that the company is going to "reorganize" it's not surprising that she will resist a bit more than the younger woman who could care less if they re-org her right out of a job I think you are probably right about Millenials being a bit more open to differences in sexual orientation, gender expression, race, etc ... and I keep hoping that it's evolutionary development which accounts for this and not an internalized belief that you CAN'T judge people who are "different" (political correctness) ... time will tell

That_IT_Guy
That_IT_Guy

You assume I don;t bother to know any people different than me. Growing up I was the geek' freak who hung around the "artsy" gays and the dark goths and the wild punks. I was the anti-prep, jock, beauty queen guy. I still think there is a balance between the extremes, but I also am tired of the "open-minded" people who go too far the other direction. Look, if you think gays are normal that's your option. I happen to think nature makes it clear they are a mistake. I also hold that natural standard to inbreeding and child molestation. But I bet you think kissing cousins are okay so long as they are gay. Wait, you mean you don't think even gay incest is okay? Aren't you being judgmental? How is it that you get to decide who can and can not marry or have "loving" relationships? You see, you agree there are things that go against nature, we just disagree about the normality of homosexuality. I think incest is wrong. I think homosexuality is wrong. I have no problems with the current age of consent and will fight NAMBLA and liberals who want to change it. But you see, somebody - society - has to make these decisions as to what is acceptable and what is perverted. I happen to be a part of the group who - contrary to your thinking that only recently have objected to homosexuality - thinks homosexuality is wrong. I don't hate them. I don't avoid them. I won't deny one a job or a seat next to me on the train. But I will also not stand by while they force the notion that are perfectly natural and the the sick feeling I get in my stomach when I see them kiss and coo is somehow a problem with me and my psyche. You go and enjoy your NAMBLA meeting, I'll be the one praying you come to your senses.

darius
darius

It is in the terms of service agreements that each person agrees to when they sign up for a social networking site that their information is protected under the privacy policy. When you sign up to use a service, you agree to the privacy policy. I would hate to think that a company wouldn't disclose to the authorities someone who was participating in such events as a result of the company's policy towards tolerance for such 'politically sensitive' events. It is the responsibility of the public and organizations to pay attention to and report these things to the FBI. http://www.fbi.gov Welcome to America.

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