I heard something on the radio a couple of weeks back about potential jury members being checked out on Facebook in an attempt for lawyers to find the best jury.
A lady I heard was not picked for one jury because on her Facebook page it stated that Erin Brockovich was an idol of this lady – the lawyer assumed therefore that she might be more likely to side with the plaintiff of the case. (Brockovich is a legal clerk famous for her work helping plaintiffs in environmental lawsuits.)
It reminded me of a investigative story I worked on while at university about something slightly different involving the social networking site … employers checking out potential employees on Facebook before deciding whether to hire them or not.
There is an ongoing debate about this matter and how widespread it is and also whether it is illegal or immoral for employers to use this as a recruitment tool.
While there doesn’t seem to be any firm legal action that can be taken, there were a few things that were clear from my research. The first being that it happens a lot, but not many are willing to admit it publicly. I spoke to one person who aids with the recruitment process in his business and said employers there would check out Facebook pages and pick the most attractive females for interviews. Unbelievable and certainly discriminatory for those less fortunate looking who didn’t stand a chance.
Although perhaps not illegal, using Facebook to screen employees, in my opinion is certainly immoral and definitely has elements of discrimination.
Not everybody has a Facebook page for a start so if some candidates get judged by an inappropriate profile picture, or being a smoker or something of the sort, and others get judged purely on the resume they submitted – that’s just not fair.
It’s obviously a near impossible thing to monitor or stop. The only thing to do I suppose is hike up the security on your Facebook account if you are looking for a job … especially if there’s something on there you might not want a potential employee to see.