Social Networking Websites: Employment Law Pitfalls

Avoiding Discrimination, Violation of Privacy, and Fair Credit Reporting Act Claims

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Course Materials

This seminar will examine the legal risks of using information obtained from social networking websites in making employment decisions. The panel will outline best practices for employers and their counsel to minimize liability exposure.


The use of social and professional networking websites, such as Facebook®, MySpace®, and LinkedIn®, has exploded. Employers are increasingly tapping into these sites to learn about job applicants and current employees — and using that information to make important employment decisions.

Businesses that use social networking sites to research current and prospective workers must balance their interest in conducting a thorough background check against the myriad legal rights of applicants and employees.

Counsel for employers who use or want to use information from such sites must be prepared to evaluate the benefits of obtaining information this way against the potential liabilities for its misuse. Counsel should also assist with developing effective employment policies involving the sites.

Listen as our panel of employment law attorneys examines the potential legal pitfalls for employers arising from using information obtained from social network sites to make critical employment decisions. The panel will offer strategies for employers to minimize liability exposure.



  1. Current legal trends
  2. Risks of using social networking websites in employment decisions
    1. Discrimination
    2. Privacy concerns
    3. Fair credit reporting laws
    4. Off-duty conduct statutes
    5. Union collective bargaining agreements
  3. Best practices to minimize litigation risks
    1. Develop written policies on what information can be collected and used
    2. Enforce policies consistently and uniformly
    3. Train managers, supervisors and employees on company policy
    4. Considerations when using recruiters in hiring — joint employer liability


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What information from social networking websites can employers legally use when making employment decisions?
  • How can businesses balance their duty to conduct due diligence background checks on applicants and employees against their duty not to discriminate in employment decisions?
  • What are the best practices for companies to develop and implement policies regarding the use of social networking sites in employment decisions?


Marcia N. Jackson
Marcia N. Jackson

Wick Phillips

Her practice includes employment and labor law, counseling, training and internal investigations. She assists clients...  |  Read More

Wayne E. Pinkstone
Wayne E. Pinkstone

Fox Rothschild

He focuses his practice in labor and employment matters with significant experience in assisting in-house counsel,...  |  Read More

Christopher J. Murphy
Christopher J. Murphy

Saul Ewing

His experience includes the defense of employment discrimination and wrongful discharge claims, drafting employment...  |  Read More

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