Web and social media monitoring

Do you know how much privacy your employees are entitled to? For example, if you feel employees are abusing their work privileges, is it legal to intercept emails or phone conversations to find out what they’re up to and confirm your suspicions? Can you ask potential job candidates for their Facebook profile log-on information?

Here are some general guidelines that can help.

Screening Job Candidate’s Social Media Profiles

There has been plenty of coverage in the media recently about companies and public sector organizations asking job candidates for their Facebook passwords as part of the employment screening process. Many of the employers who do this are in law enforcement and are on the lookout for potential illegal activity. But businesses have also been known to use this approach to get a better handle on who they are about to hire.

Although there is no federal law prohibiting this, the Department of Justice considers it a crime to violate social media terms of service and enter these sites illegally. Asking an employee or candidate for their log-on information means you and that individual are both in direct violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service which states the following: “You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else” or “You will not share your password... let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.”

Many states are also now looking to make this practice illegal.

The Bottom Line: Simply asking for access to personal passwords is a clear privacy violation and is both offensive to the candidate and unethical. Employers and managers should also be careful they’re not accessing profile information to determine an employee’s religious, sexual or political views. If it’s determined that you used this information to discriminate against an employee, you may be found in violation of equal employment opportunity and privacy rules.

Monitoring Employee Social Media Activity in the Workplace

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Hald is careful to differentiate his company from social media monitoring solutions, which he says only let you know that there is a discussion about the company in social channels.

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