Social ‘snooping’ may become illegal for employers!

Is social snooping set to become a thing of the past for employers? Exploring how GDPR will affect recruitment practices…

Last week we discussed your ‘social media CV’ and how this affects recruitment decisions. Currently, 60% of employers use social media to research potential candidates.

However, these employers may soon be committing an offence!

Ed Stacey (head of employment at PwC Legal) refers to new EU guidelines in his discussion with Personnel Today. Within these new guidelines, it is suggested that employers must have legal grounds for any social media research. And this suggestion applies to employees and candidates alike.

What could possibly apply as legal grounds? Quite simply, it appears that any checks must be of specific relevance to the employee’s job performance.

How and when could this law come into action?

According to the article, this may apply as soon as May 2018 under the ‘interpretation of GDPR.’

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation – and is the new legislation regarding the use of personal data throughout the EU.

But what about Brexit?

The Government has already confirmed that GDPR will apply here in the UK, as we will be a member state at the time of implementation. And, as Xpert HR mentions, financial sanctions relating to GDPR will also be more severe than those of the Data Protection Act 1998.

What happens once the UK officially leaves the EU? Essentially, it will be up to the government to decide whether or not to retain GDPR or any of its parts. And, at present, it appears that retention is most likely.

What does this mean for you?

  1. As an employee or job-seeker: it may be wise to continue to follow the advice shared in ‘Reviewing your social media CV‘; at least for the time being.
  2. As an employer or manager: you may wish to start reviewing your recruitment practices. While the laws are not yet in place, ‘social snooping’ may prove unethical and carry other legal risks. As per Personnel Today’s feature, the potential for candidate discrimination is of primary concern. ACAS provides helpful details on this, alongside the use of social media in performance management.

For further recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130.