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Social Media Can Come Back and Bite You in Employment Discrimination Actions

Are you one of the many people who now document every event in your life on social media? Your friends and family may not be the only ones looking.

Yesterday the EEOC stated that many employers in discrimination and unfair termination suits burden individual plaintiffs with excessive discovery requests that delve into their personal social media use, even going as far as requesting user IDs and passwords. Apparently some employers are even delving into the social media postings of employees' family and friends. The concern of the EEOC and plaintiff's attorneys is that this pattern will have a chilling effect on employee's willingness to bring a case.

Isn't there is a law against this? Nope, at least not yet. Currently there isn't an overarching federal law that governs employers' access to employees' personal social media accounts and activity, and only 12 states have any laws at all on the issue. Employers are entitled to perform background checks on potential employees, and in doing so, they must be in compliance with laws banning discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, genetic information and age, and any time an employer gets a background report from an outside agency it must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

So if you think that you are subject to any form of employment discrimination in the workplace, take a close look at what you are posting on social media. Is there any way that the information could be used to compromise your claim? Even innocent posts could be twisted the wrong way in litigation by an employer intent on disproving your contentions.

If you feel you have been discriminated against in your workplace, call the attorneys at Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP. And curtail your social media presence immediately!

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