What discrimination risks do employers face if they use social media in recruitment?

Author: Linda Segall, Segall Enterprises

Individuals who use social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs, often disclose information that is considered protected by equal employment opportunity laws as well as privacy laws. For example, many users of these media platforms post their pictures, which may suggest their race, ethnicity, gender and age. Users also may disclose personal information, such as genetic information in blog posts.

Courts assume that once an employer reviews a candidate's online profile, the employer has knowledge of these protected characteristics. Such knowledge puts the employer at risk for discrimination charges by job applicants who are not hired.