Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC
Mary E. Windham, Ted Claypoole and Stephanie L. Shaw
May 24 2011
Does your human resources staff dig into MySpace, snagging pictures of applicants at bong parties and finding admissions of employees stealing boxes of copy paper? Does your manager learn about the latest office pregnancy or skiing accident on Facebook? Is social media an official information source for your company?
If so, the EEOC is aiming to regulate your company’s use of social networking sites, especially as it relates to health data.
The EEOC commentary comes in the form of new anti-discrimination regulations and some interpretive guidance by the EEOC’s top lawyer. For several years the EEOC has cautioned of what one official has called “the snowballing problem” of potentially discriminatory hiring practices in the Internet era. Use of social media in particular creates further issues, as an employer may become aware of an individual’s protected characteristics such as marital status, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or political activities.
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