Banning Employers from Using Facebook as a Recruitment Tool

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5 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    I’m glad to see from the first article that German companies won’t be able to put video cameras in toilets (any more?). That, at least, seems reasonable to me. I wonder, though, how this law could possibly be enforced. I don’t suppose companies in Germany have to tell every applicant why they were not hired, and if not, how would they know? I don’t have a facebook account, so maybe it’s easy to tell who has looked at you, but if not,it seems like a bad idea to me, as I’m not in favor of laws that can’t really be enforced.

  2. A.J. Sutter says:

    “Using law in this way might, however, permit people to hide truthful (though damaging) information, exposing employers and their stakeholders to a variety of risks.” So? You could argue that the 4th and 5th Amendments expose society to a variety of risks too, concerning the hiding of “truthful (though damaging) information.” Will risks to employers if they abstain be any greater than they were in the pre-Internet days? More importantly, should the interests of employers be allowed to trump the interests of individuals to a life outside of work? I agree with Matt about the difficulty of enforcement, but I don’t think we should be shedding tears for employers.

  3. It may be difficult to identify offending employers that wrongly consider online information about job applicants. But this is similar to currently existing, and also difficult to enforce, laws barring consideration of: gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, marital status, age, credit and criminal records (in some circumstances), whistleblower status, political perspective (in the public sector), etc.

    Despite the difficulty of detecting law-breaking, when enforcement does happen, there is a positive effect not only in individual cases, but in the aggregate. As cases accumulate, employer norms will shift in response as companies promulgate policies written by liability-averse employer counsel.

    Digital media make it all too easy for a person’s different selves to collapse onto each other. And because digital media is not going away, we need to regulate it responsibly to ensure we foster persons and personalities that are more than merely their employer-acceptable forms.

  4. A better idea might just be for some of you people who like this kind of regulation of employers to go out and become actual employers yourselves. Then you can implement your own progressive, far-sighted employment policies, become the employer of choice among those who are indiffeent to their public personna and with this kick-ass talent base, clean the competitions’ clocks.

    This just highlights an ongoing lament of mine: that all the best and the brightest available to run and own our businesses are seemingly instead mired in places like Washington, Annapolis and the halls of Academia; progressively and selflessly giving the rest of us the key to corporate success.

  5. Ken Arromdee says:

    Maryland: the problem with that idea is that there is no reason to believe that the rejected applicants are *more* talented than the accepted ones, so the employer is only harmed by having a smaller group of prospective employees to choose from. Starting a competing business out of a belief that a business that doesn’t discriminate is more efficient won’t work–the gain to efficiency is miniscule and overwhelmed by the other advantages that an established business has over a newcomer. And you’re suggesting that the business be started for the purpose of demonstrating that businesses that don’t discriminate are efficient, which is even worse. Not to mention that the field is probably saturated and can’t handle another business already.

    And this applies to any sort of discrimination, not just Facebook-based.