Employees: Beware of What You Post on Social Media

There has been an increasing trend by employers to turn to social media sites to find information regarding job applicants. A recent CareerBuilder article found the following: 70 percent of employers use social media to screen employee candidates; 54 percent of employers decided not to hire a candidate based on their social medial profiles; 57 percent of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they cannot find online; and half of employers check current employees’ social media profiles, with over a third having reprimanded or fired an employee for inappropriate content.

California’s labor laws have some protections in place for potential or current employees when it comes to social media posts. For example, Labor Code section 980 prohibits employers from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant from disclosing a username or password for the purpose of accessing the employee’s or applicant’s personal social media. Moreover, viewing a job applicant’s public social media gives an employer access to information they are prohibited from considering when it comes to hiring (e.g., an applicant’s age, race, disabilities, previous criminal convictions, possible pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation, etc.).

So what does this mean? Having a social media account can be a good thing for employment purposes, but beware of what you post in the social media abyss. Assume that anything you post, even if your privacy settings limit your audience, has the potential of being seen by your employer.