September 21, 2010 by Amanda Carpenter (IPilogue Editor)
Amanda Carpenter is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has pointed to US polling showing that as much as 45 percent of employers use social networking sites when scrutinizing job candidates. This didn’t surprise me, as I happen to know someone whose full-time job was to conduct online background checks on potential employees.
Indeed, the cited poll found that over one-third of employers have passed over candidates based on what they found online. Reasons may include inappropriate photos, references to alcohol consumption and drug use, and negative comments about former employers. Discrimination, of course, may be less wholesome, as some employers have been known to judge candidates based on the attractiveness of their profile pictures, and—where privacy settings inhibit such snooping—even pose as others in order to be “friended.”