The Employment Law Issues in Social Media

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Ashtons Legal this week welcomed over 60 delegates to an employment seminar which looked at the impact of social media in today’s working environment.

The event, which was run in conjunction with recruiting experts Hays, was held at Ipswich Town Football Club and topics covered included identifying the conflict of use and abuse of social media by some staff and whether employers should use social media as a way of vetting candidates applying for jobs.

On the issue of potential new recruits, delegates were asked whether they routinely look at applicants’ personal or professional social media sites when considering them for a role, or even an interview. Of the delegates who responded, many of them routinely check candidates’ social media pages, whilst many check them if they feel it will add value to the application process. The majority look at LinkedIn over Facebook but many look at both. These sites give off very different impressions of a person – LinkedIn is very professional and aimed at colleagues and employers, whereas Facebook logs someone’s comings and goings, mostly in their personal time.

Abi Adams, an employment solicitor at Ashtons Legal, said: “Different companies have a range of attitudes to the strategic importance of social media to their culture and business. The numerous platforms clearly represent a fantastic tool to reach untapped audiences, attract new staff and allow clients to feel engaged with the services that are being provided.”

Abi adds: “However, it is a double edged sword which can be just as compromising as it is engaging. Employers should make sure that they are aware of the key risks and employment law considerations when looking at social media.”


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