When it comes to Facebook and other social networking sites, employers tend to worry about employees spending too much time poking friends and possible compromises of sensitive company data. Some even fret over how to deal with professional etiquette dilemmas such as unwanted friend requests from colleagues.
Add to that list of worries a much more serious concern: getting sued for employment discrimination.
As Toni Bowers writes on TechRepublic, citing Workforce.com, a site for human resources professionals, employers who utilize information gleaned from social networking sites to make hiring decisions could find themselves slapped with a lawsuit. According to the site, companies could be accused of using such sites to avoid hiring minorities, homosexuals or other groups protected by employment law.
While "failure to hire" lawsuits are relatively rare, according to the site, their numbers could grow as more employers begin using social networking sites to vet job candidates. There have already been lawsuits that appear to pave the way for these kinds of legal actions, as I wrote last spring. For instance, a Pennsylvania woman filed a lawsuit against Millersville University after it declined to award her an education degree because of photos of her on MySpace that allegedly promoted underage drinking.