A recent survey of hiring managers and human resource professionals reports that more than two in five companies use social networking sites to research job candidates. This interest in social networking does not end when the candidate is hired: To the contrary, companies are seeking to leverage the personal social media networks of their existing employees, as well as to inspect personal social media in workplace investigations.
As employer social media practices continue to evolve, individuals and privacy advocacy groups have grown increasingly concerned about employers intruding upon applicants’ or employees’ privacy by viewing restricted access social media accounts. A dozen states already have passed special laws restricting employer access to personal social media accounts of applicants and employees (“state social media laws”), and similar legislation is pending in at least 26 states. Federal legislation is also under discussion.
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