Social media as part of background checking (Part 3)

This is part three in my four part series on social media and background checking.

In the first post we looked at laying a foundation for the discussion and about how social media allows you access to a unique view on a candidate’s character. In part two I discussed the issue of cultural fit and it’s important and how social media can help assess the cultural fit of a person.

In part three I want to look at some of the possible legal issues* with using the information found online as part of the selection process.

Discrimination

The first potential issue is that of discrimination.
Discrimination

I would suggest if you want to learn more about discrimination in Australia head over to the Australian Human Right Commission website and review the information for employers. One thing to remember is there are five primary federal laws that cover this area and each state has their own discrimination Acts. While the overall content of the different laws cover essentially the same areas there are discrepancies at both a Commonwealth and state level and even between the states. Add to this sometimes Commonwealth law applies where at other times both Commonwealth and state  laws apply and finally times when only state laws apply. This is a fairly complex area and a legal minefield.

If employers are to use social media as part of the recruitment process to comply with Commonwealth law they need to ensure that the selection process is not influenced by information around race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex, pregnancy or marital status; age; disability; religion; sexual preference; trade union activity; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation.

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