Your Views: Job-seekers be aware of social media pitfalls

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Being college students, one of the most frightening situations we face after graduation is applying for jobs in our desired field. After years of schooling, preparing for the interview, and answering all the questions right, it seems unethical that recent graduates should be denied employment due to the influence of our social media sites.

Currently in Wisconsin, employers can ask you to bring up your social media sites, like Facebook, during the interviewing process. This creates multiple conflicts of interests. On one hand, individuals may not be hired purely on the basis of their posts on Facebook, which does not necessarily affect their work habits and skills. On the other hand, this causes potential problems for businesses because they could face lawsuits against discriminating during the hiring process based on information found in your “About Me” section on Facebook. This section provides information like age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religious or political beliefs.

The California Labor Code prohibits employers from requesting or requiring applicants or employees to disclose social media log-in credentials, bars them from requesting access to personal social media in the employer's presence, or divulging any personal social media. Ten other states have similar laws.

This is something to be aware of because Wisconsin does not currently have these laws in place, so when you're applying for jobs, it may be best to deactivate your social media sites, and in the meantime create more awareness throughout our communities to take this issue to our legislators.



EDITOR'S NOTE: The Wisconsin Legislature has passed and Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign a bill that bars employers, schools, and landlords from requiring their employees, students or tenants to produce their social media passwords. However, the bill allows employers, schools, and landlords to view individuals' social media postings that are available to the public.


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