I recently read an article about how college football recruiters are using twitter to screen out potential players for their teams. Its becoming a somewhat common practice for recruiters to monitor the twitter accounts of high school players that they are scouting to see whether any red flags are raised. Based on some of the inappropriate tweets, colleges have decided not to pursue particular players and, in at least one instance, have even withdrawn a scholarship offer. Some of these college coaches are encouraging high school coaches to teach players that they need to be careful about what they post on social media. It seems to me that this is education needed by lots of people, not just high school athletes. I still find myself shocked from time to time about what people will post on social media sites.
On one-hand, there's risk in not doing your due diligence before hiring a candidate. What if a quick search would have revealed that the potential hire was posting confidential information about his or her current employer or about a customer? Or, what if the individual was posting racists comments? You might think twice about making that hire. On the other hand, what if you stumble across some protected class information? For example, what if you see a post about a recent medical diagnosis or that the individual is pregnant? If you decide not to hire the individual (for other lawful reasons, of course) and that individual challenges the decision, you've lost your ability to claim that you had no knowledge of the protected class status.
Kathryn Nash chairs the firm’s Labor, Employment, and Higher Education practice areas. She regularly advises colleges and universities on a wide range of issues unique to higher education institutions, such as Clery, Title IX ...
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