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Social Media May Keep You Jobless!
September 10, 2012


Employee Rights News You Can Use


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Date September 10, 2012!!

Issue #42


In The News.....

Hello Friend,

Terry Bacon, the publisher of the book "What People Want" has some interesting results from a survey of 500 American employees.

Nine Things Employees Crave

  • 1. Honesty - 90% desire honesty and integrity from their bosses. I'm not surprised this is #1 since honesty and integrity are becoming harder and harder to find at work.
  • 2. Fairness - 89% want to be treated fairly. Like honesty and integrity, fairness is also rare.
  • 3. Trust - 86% would like to be able trust and be trusted by employers.
  • 4. Respect - 84% want to be able to respect their boss and be respected by their boss.
  • 5. Dependability - 81% crave counting on their boss to be dependable.
  • 6. Collaboration - 77% want inclusion in contributing input of ideas and solutions for success.
  • 7. Genuineness - 76% just want the supervisor to BE REAL and KEEP IT REAL.
  • 8. Appreciation - 74% would like to be treated as needed and useful to the organization.
  • 9. Responsiveness - 74% believe the boss should be willing to listen and not just hear concerns and be responsive.

Isn't it interesting 1-4 involve the essence of what a productive and efficient workplace MUST have?

I will continue to provide you with the latest info affecting your Basic Employee Rights!

That said....

So let's get to it!



Social Media May Keep You Jobless!

What can your employer find out about you online? I tell many career seekers and employees to do the following. Go to the major search engine browsers Google, Yahoo and Bing and type your full name. Do this both with and without quotes. They are astounded by the amount of professional and personal info that shows up.

Guess what? Your boss or potential boss can also see this same record of your life. When I do an exact match search on my name in Google the first result is one of my Twitter accounts, then my LinkedIn account, an Ezinearticle of mine, then a Facebook account of "another" Yancey Thomas Jr.

Curiously, employers are discouraged from using social media to "willy nilly" screen job applicants. Facebook, Twitter and now Pinterest have become huge reservoirs of all kinds of information that paints a picture of an individual. Obvious things like gender is easily discovered. However, other information such as age, race, pregnancy, disabilities, religion and national origin have become readily available through the social media platform.

That's why employment experts especially attorneys representing businesses and organizations advise employers to be careful when utilizing social media in pre hiring backgrounds. All the aforementioned characteristics are also protected classes under Title VII of the Civil Rights. This information can't be used as a basis for a hiring or non hiring decision.

The use of social media can also distort the truth. For example, an employer could see a picture of you walking with a cane on a social media account. A potential boss could view that as a disability and allow that to influence an illegal hiring decision. You could simply have sprained an ankle, which is a temporary condition.

Social media background checks may uncover all sorts of medical information the potential employer is not entitled to. I always admonish employees and job seekers to be extremely discreet about the personal and professional info they share through social media. It can and will come back to bite you! In the face to face interview both the employer and applicant have a degree of control.

Once on the internet that all changes. There are advantages and risks to both sides. Along with wanting to screen applicants employers use social media search to determine;

  • When to search?
  • Who should do the search?
  • What data the employer is looking for?
  • Is the info relevant to the position?
  • How the applicant uses social media?

Companies are advised to perform social media background checks after an interview and before a job offer. They are also being told to make the offer dependent on the results of the social media search. Job applicants and employees should know that employers should get their consent before conducting the social media information search. If they don't and you are not hired or promoted it could lead to issues of discrimination and other employee rights violations.

Employment lawyers representing businesses recommend your boss always hire a third party to conduct social media background checks. If done in-house it should be HR or other non decision maker and not the interviewer or hiring manager. Quite frankly, I would be leery of any in-house individual or department doing any type of background search being unbiased. Legal experts believe potential employer liability for the following.....

  • Privacy laws
  • Criminal background check laws
  • Web site search terms of use
  • Away from work conduct
  • Implied contracts
  • Potential First amendment Issues
  • Negligent hiring considerations

....can be greatly diminished by carefully developing a social media background search strategy and checklist. The following is an example of what your employer's social media background checklist may look like. Let's say the info is from a popular social media company;

  • Name: SuzyQ/FlyGirl
  • Job: Executive Assistant
  • Interests: shuffleboard tournaments
  • Likes: Joanie my life partner
  • Dislikes: Subway travel without my .22 pistol
  • Important accomplishments: Overcoming my ADHD
  • Best characteristic: My devotion to Buddha

What info from this list should be reported to your potential employer from the hired third party?

Well a well trained third party company knows ONLY the .22 pistol is relevant to report. Why? because some of the other info deals with legally protected classes. (Civil Rights Act Title VII of 1964)

Remember, the issue of social media background checks will become more relevant to the hiring process as time goes on. As an employee or job seeker make sure you use social media to your advantage, not the advantage of the employer!

Until next time....

Be something good to someone!



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Your Basic Employee Rights eNews is published the first week of the month, 12 weeks per year. From time to time we will publish special features that affect employees in the workplace. We may also offer third party resources that will be of benefit to you our valued subscriber.



Note: Any and all information provided within this Newsletter/Ezine is for educational and general information purposes only. It is NOT INTENDED as legal advice. Please review this specific disclaimer;


Written by Yancey Thomas Jr.


(c)copyright 2012


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