Argumentative Essay on Social Media and Personal Space of Employees
Nowadays, almost everyone with access to the internet has some sort of personal social media page to their name. A Facebook to communicate with friends, an Instagram to post pictures, even a Twitter to share your thoughts with the world. You name it, your friends probably have at least one account. In fact, since almost every person has a social media page of some sort, employers have taken to searching the pages of potential employees to find new information that could aid the hiring process. But this new step in hiring has led to some controversy among the masses. Should a person’s personal social media be consulted by employers? Or is social media a private space free of judgement? Social media should not be used by employers when investigating new potential employees to avoid discrimination and bias for or against a new hire, and avoid running into legal liabilities.
To start, social media should not be used by employers when researching new hires to avoid discrimination and bias. Employers are only human. Every person has their own opinions and beliefs. But sometimes, these opinions can conflict with others. This presents issues when such things are introduced to the workplace. “Experience shows that employers fire an employee for reasons having nothing to do with work. People have lost jobs because of their political opinions and religious beliefs.” (Source 2, Paragraph 14). Firing people based on certain beliefs are considered discrimination. Anyone of any sex, race, sexual orientation or certain political beliefs are not immune to discrimination against them. In fact, this is not all that uncommon either. “The Majority of employers in a recent survey (77%) said they now conduct internet searches of prospective employees, and over a third (35%) have rejected job applicants because of information they found.” (Source 2, Paragraph 15). Clearly, anyone is at risk of being discriminated against, and companies are at risk of getting into trouble because of it.
Social media should not be used by employers when researching new hires to avoid liability. Although firing based on social media can result in an unfair outcome for the former employee, it can also result in an unfair outcome for the company as well. Take, for instance, this. “In one recent case that involved a company’s social media policy, the National Labor Rations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against an employer who fired a staff member for badmouthing her supervisor on Facebook” (Source 3, Paragraph 27). Although the firing may have been justified, the company was faced with a legal battle ahead, and eventually settled out of court and had to change company policies regarding social media.
But of course, while this is already not the only case of legal action being taken, there could be many more to come if companies are not careful. “While many of the off-duty conduct laws were drafted to address an employee’s use of tobacco off the worksite, many of them are written broadly enough to encompass the use of social media, blogging, or other online activities.” (Source 3, Paragraph 32). With such vague laws, it’s safer to avoid consulting social media in the first place rather than walk on eggshells when doing so. It could save a company time and money in the long run.
Although some may argue that the use of social media in the process of hiring someone is justified through the means of protecting company information. This makes sense because disgruntled employees can go onto the internet and share information that may tarnish the reputation of the company or present legal issues. However, that is simply not the case. In fact, most of what employees do on the internet has nothing to do with work and takes place during their own personal time on their personal devices, therefore there is no reason to consult an employees’ social media to determine whether or not they are a good hire.
In conclusion, Employers should not search the social media pages of potential employees to prevent bias and discrimination and to avoid possible legal liabilities. As it stands, the downsides to social-media firings far outweigh the upsides, and it’s much safer for a company or employer to just hire the old-fashioned way—an application and an interview