Properly Using Social Media Sites In Hiring and Personnel Decisions
By Lonnie Giamela Partner, Fisher & Phillips, LLP | March 03, 2013
Social networking sites provide hotels with numerous operational benefits in their attempts to market themselves to the general public. Hotels can benefit from comments posted on a facebook page, pictures uploaded onto an instagram account and/or linkedin connections that a sales and catering department representative may make. These websites not only expedite communication to past, current and potential guests, but also permit hotels to broaden their outreach through sponsored pages, advertising on social networking sites and simple "fan" pages created by guests.
Social media has had a profound effect on the sales and marketing operations of a hotel, but all too often, these same hotels fail to acknowledge and respond to how social media influences and affects Human Resources. Hotels across the country, along with all employers, have seen an increasing trend of challenges being made to hiring and disciplinary actions based upon information gleaned from an applicant or employee's social networking site.
Although utilizing this information is permissible under many circumstances, it is not an absolute guarantee that employers are insulated from liability when utilizing social networking sites in human resources decisions.
Hotels must ensure that social networking policies are compliant with recent legislation and administrative decisions as well as be cognizant of the way in which hiring managers and supervisors interact with, investigate and base employment decisions on information contained in an applicant or employee's social networking site.
Social Media in the Hiring Process
Imagine you have been tasked with the pre-employment screening process to hire a new mid-level manager at your hotel. The only instruction you receive from your boss is to be thorough in your investigation of the five applicants - Sandy, John, Jose, Marilyn and Dwayne - in order to ultimately determine who is the most qualified for the job. Before you leave the room your boss reminds you of the time the company was sued for a negligent hiring claim and she wishes to never go through that process again.