In the article “What Franchises Need to Know About Social Media Screening,” Franchise Times turned to partner Stacey Smiricky for insight on what franchisors can do to avoid potential legal pitfalls if they choose to evaluate applicants’ social media profiles during the hiring process.
Lawful off-duty conduct is one potential legal factor related to social media screening, said Smiricky. It’s about “properly evaluating information and whether it’s really relevant to the applicant’s ability to do the job as opposed to something along the lines of lawful off-duty conduct or opinions on certain products,” Smiricky added.
Smiricky advised using a consistent process for every candidate, keeping detailed documentation of anything found that impacts hiring decisions and conducting social media screenings for everyone or no one. She also recommended screening after initial interviews because “social media searches prior to meeting with candidates may cause concern over Equal Employment Opportunity laws.”
“In a franchise operation, if a franchisor is directing franchisees to do these, watch out for joint employer liability issues because most franchisors know we can’t direct how franchisees manage their employees” and may “run the risk of being responsible for any decisions they make,” said Smiricky.