Invasion of the Social Networks: Blurring the Line between Personal Life and the Employment Relationship
42 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2011 Last revised: 12 Apr 2011
Date Written: February 28, 2011
Over one-half billion people worldwide have registered accounts with Facebook, the most popular online social network. This article addresses some of the more significant employment-related legal issues arising from the growing popularity of online social networks. First, the need for employers to investigate the background of prospective employees is examined from the context of employers using online social networks to conduct those investigations. In particular, this article analyzes the degree to which job applicants have privacy rights in the information they post online. This article then examines the interrelationship between online social networks and employees, focusing on limitations faced by employers in taking adverse actions against employees based on their online activities. This article also examines rights of employers to access employee online communications, as well as potential liabilities for employers based on employee online communications. This article concludes with a set of best practices recommendations to assist employers in keeping pace with the changing legal landscape associated with online social networks.
Keywords: information privacy, workplace privacy, social media in the workplace
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