In a recent staff discussion reviewing several reader comments on the topic of potential corporate risk management issues concerning social networking and how this recent use of social media is being brought into business processes such as recruiting and other hiring related activities, many areas of potential privacy violation risks were discovered.   In fact, much of our research indicated that using social media in the recruiting and hiring process has the potential to create hiring discrimination claims and even possible law suits – all of which have then the potential to create large economic penalties in both time and money for organizations.   An example of this, might be where, depending on how a candidate restricts and controls their privacy on sites like Facebook, a recruiter or manager is capable of learning a great deal of information that legally, should not be included in their decision to interview or even a hire a potential employee.

Supporting a disaster preparedness position and mindset on this issue, our staff recommends an article entitled  “The Era of Corporate Social Media Discrimination” , written in four parts by Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, as great reading on this topic.

The links to that information are as follows:

  1. Part 1 – types of protected classes of privacy are outlined along with real world possible scenarios to consider,
  2. Part 2 – points out potential liabilities and governmental agencies that are now just learning about social media,
  3. Part 3 – discusses disparate and adverse impacts, and
  4. Part 4 – raises the concern for potential liabilities from online unconscious bias which is the foundation of the pending Wal-Mart class action suit.

Hopefully, from the information and recommendations provided by Jessica Miller-Merrell, your organization will be able to use social media to recruit and hire individuals safely and effectively, and thus, totally avoid the need for business continuity planners to develop a disaster recovery or crisis management strategy to address such a potential violation of an individual’s rights to privacy.

If applicable, please pass this information on to those HR professionals in your organization.

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