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Law for Business

Knowhow - guidance - precedents

01 AUG 2013

To Google or not to Google?

Pam Loch

Managing Partner

@LochLaw

We are all conscious of the value that social media plays in modern business.  But what happens once you have found who you think is the right person for the job?  Do you take that next step into the world of social networking to try and find out more about the candidate and to find out if they are really the person they say they are? 

You may consider running a simple Google search on a candidate or checking their Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter page to delve into their personal and professional life and determine whether they are truly the individual that they have portrayed themselves to be on their CV.

However, employers must be cautious when analysing this information and deciding whether those wild holiday pictures on a candidate's Facebook page or a comment made about their former boss, are genuine reasons to decide not to recruit them. 

If a candidate looks good on paper then a couple of minor indiscretions may not affect your decision, however, if they have no obvious on-line presence, you should not assume that they have something to hide as they may just be private or manage their online presence well.

The most important thing to remember as an employer, is that your decision making process must not be discriminate and fall foul of the Equality Act 2010 by "digitally discriminating".  A decision not to progress a candidate due to their sexuality or religious belief for example will amount to discrimination and could expose the business to a costly and time consuming claim at the Employment Tribunal.

Pam Loch and Julie Edmonds, Managing Partner and Associate Employment Lawyer of niche employment law practice, Loch Associates Employment Lawyers.

For more information on Loch Associates Employment Lawyers please go to www.lochassociates.co.uk and for HR Advise Me go to www.hradvise.me.

This information is intended as a guide only.  Whilst the information contained in this document is believed to be correct, it is not a substitute for appropriate legal advice.  Loch Associates can take no responsibility for actions taken based on the information contained in this document.

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