Workplace Policy

The Facebook Factor: Using Social Media To Monitor Employees

By Elizabeth Rice, SPHR

The overwhelming phenomenon of social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn has alternately sparked excitement, concern, and controversy among businesses everywhere: excitement about the abundant marketing opportunities these networks provide; concern about the growing lack of image control companies have as a result; and controversy over whether or not today’s employees are spending too many of their work hours socializing online, and fewer hours actually working.

Like it or not, social media is here to stay. And some savvy employers are making the most of it with an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy toward social networking sites, blogs, online videos, and more. Rather than viewing these outlets simply as a threat to employee productivity and company image, these businesses have begun utilizing social media as a helpful (and free) tool for screening potential job candidates, checking up on new hires, and monitoring current employees.

But are these screening techniques legal? Below is a look at both the benefits and liabilities of using social media to monitor prospects and employees.

Social Media as the New Background Check


It’s long been suspected that employers use social networks to take a “behind the scenes” peek at job applicants, but just how common is the practice? The answer, according to a recent report by CareerBuilder, is very common: nearly half of employers surveyed said they use sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn to research potential hires. Furthermore, 35% of survey respondents said they decided not to offer a job to a candidate based on the content uncovered in these searches. Among the most frequently-cited reasons for not hiring these prospects were the discovery of provocative photos, references to drinking and drug use, poor online communication skills, and online bad-mouthing of previous employers.

Checking prospective hires via social media has become so commonplace, in fact, that it recently inspired the launch of a new startup company called “Social Intelligence.” The company, which launched in September 2010, provides a screening and monitoring service that tracks an individual’s social media activity on various networks, and then screens it for employer-designated red flags like gang involvement, drug use, and demonstrations of potentially violent behavior. According to Forbes, Social Intelligence “is essentially taking the traditional background checks commonly used by corporate HR departments…and moving them online to track social media networks.” The company’s reports filter out legally sensitive information such as sexual orientation, race, or religion, and the data is manually reviewed before being distributed to prospective employers. Social Intelligence’s CEO Max Drucker says that the service helps companies perform due dilligence with regard to hiring and risk management, while protecting prospective employees from discrimination.

And social media monitoring isn’t just limited to job applicants; some companies are using it to check up on current employees as well. Accodring to a 2009 survey from the American Management Association, 52% of U.S. employers have fired employees for email and web violations. Stories are widely circulated about instances when an employee has been disciplined or even terminated for posting negative content about an employer on social media outlets like Facebook and personal blogs. Companies claim these actions provide legal grounds for termination, arguing that such content is damaging to their corporate image and negatively impacts business. Notable examples include the 2009 instances in which employees of fast-food purveyors Domino’s and KFC took video and photos of their unsanitary use of the restaurants’ food and equipment, posted the material on YouTube and MySpace, and caused an overnight uproar (for which all employees involved were immediately fired). Meanwhile, other employees have been caught red-handed when, after calling in “sick” to miss work, they subsequently (and foolishly) posted online updates and pictures of themselves spending the day at a party or on vacation. For example, acccording to New York’s Daily News, more than a dozen Department of Education employees were recently fired for “faking illnesses to take vacations.” Among the clues that tipped off coworkers and administrators were vacation photos the offenders had publicly posted on their Facebook profiles.

Staying Aware of the Legal Pitfalls

Though social media can undoubtedly be used to a company’s advantage, employers must also be aware of some inherent risks that come with exploring this new terrain. Because social media and the so-called “blogosphere” are relatively uncharted territory for the workplace, the law is currently racing to keep pace with what is and isn’t legal when it comes to screening, while large companies are hurrying to develop written employee policies pertaining to social media. The good news is that, for now, much of the judgment about social media falls in favor of employers. A recent report by the Ocala Business Journal attests that checking social media sites and making subsequent hiring or termination decisions about employees and prospective hires is well within a company’s legal rights, because an employee could potentially affect an employer’s reputation. According to the article, “employers doing background checks [often] ask if it’s legal to check social media sites to find out more about potential employees. It is.” Employees questioning the validity and legality of these searches are typically told that, although the actions posted online may have been performed off the clock, they still have the capacity to affect a company’s reputation. “One major impact of social media is the line between professional and personal lives has blurred,” the article says. “Social media is impacting hiring as well as termination.” Likewise, Social Intelligence CEO Drucker attests that his company’s methods are compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and that the onus falls on the employee or job seeker to use discretion in posting anything online. “People need to exercise good judgment and understand that what they post publicly is public, and an employer has a right to know about it,” he says.

When it comes to searching an employee or prospect’s social media presence, the legitimate risk for employers lies in potentially violating anti-discrimination and privacy laws. According to the National Law Review, “an employer’s examination of an employee’s or potential hire’s social network sites may provide the basis for claims under employment discrimination statutes if the employer used [these] methods to seek out information that was legally protected in some way.” Such legally protected data includes religion, ethnicity, political affiliations, gender, or sexual orientation: all information that is readily available on many Facebook profiles. “If plaintiffs can show that they were discriminated against in the hiring process, or wrongfully terminated based on information gleaned from updates on Twitter, pictures on Facebook, or accounts on their personal blogs,” the National Law Review asserts, “the employers will surely be held liable under the pertinent anti-discrimination statutes.”

Another employer risk is gaining information online by engaging in what is known as “social engineering:” manipulating an individual into granting access to his or her otherwise private online networks. When it comes to social media, examples of these spy techniques might include trying to “friend” an individual on Facebook for the purpose of looking at his or her otherwise private, personal information, or requesting access to a password-protected blog not accessible to the general public. In these cases, an employee or prospective hire may allege that such actions constitute an invasion of privacy, since the employee or applicant has demonstrated a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to their social media accounts by protecting them with passwords and making them accessible on a case-by-case basis.

In summary, employers who aren’t already doing so may want to begin exploring social media as a potential vetting tool, while keeping in mind that the laws pertaining to these practices could change as social media continues to find its place in the workforce. Perhaps more importantly, employees and job seekers should pay careful attention to what they choose to share publicly online, taking to heart the old adage that “some things are better left unsaid” – or, in this case, unposted.

About the Author: Elizabeth Rice, SPHR, is the President of Innovative Employee Solutions , a San Diego-based company specializing in nationwide payroll and HR administrative services for the contingent workforce. Ms. Rice has more than 25 years of experience in HR and executive management.


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Workplace Policy

Areas To Consider To Adopt Remote Working For Long Term

Adopt Remote Work,adopt Remote working for Long term

Adopting remote work for long term

Coronavirus has impacted our work culture almost instantaneously by the forced introduction of remote working to millions of in-office employees. What could have been a long-term plan for organizations to plan and execute, this pandemic made it possible in the flick of mere days. Needless to consider the additives of this extremely quick digital transformation, the fact that everything isn’t up to the desired standards is true too. Amidst this emergency, the key focus lies in keeping the businesses running, rather than being perfectionists in approach. Thus, every organization has arranged for the minimalistic sources that can help support the teams and employees sustained.

The pandemic came as a great workplace revolution, changing our ways of work and communication once, and for all. While some might experience a communication gap, some are experiencing a great surge in employee productivity too.

Nobody has a clue till when this global emergency is going to last and even if the lockdown ends, its spell will surely last long, forcing some organizations to adoptRemote Workingwhile some other fraction of organizations implementing it willingly.

So, now the question arises that should we go for a complete change to work from home after the lockdown is lifted or even after the COVID19 is wiped off? The choice is entirely dependent on the type of business and the way you adopt.

Now, let’s suppose you decide to implement Remote Work in the long run, Let’s delve through the aspects that need to be taken care of:

Define Goals and HR Policies

Goals of any kind are the integral parts of achievement and so do organizational goals. Let your goal defining system be very strong as well as realistic both to the organization and the employees.

Clarity is crucial! A well-defined work from home policy for remote workers must be in place to be productive. The employees must know their rights and policies beforehand.

Even if supporting the flexibility of work hours and roles, some rules need to be implemented to promote self-discipline as well as avoid any kind of conflict on the performance evaluation statistics.

Efficient Collaboration

Team collaboration has a direct impact on overall productivity. Therefore, the employers’ main focus must be to support remote teams to collaborate and work together.

Employee Engagement solutions need to be chosen wisely to eliminate this challenge faced by most companies while having employees remotely.

Office buildings will become just conference centers where the unavoidable and extremely confidential communication will take place.


Workplace Policy

6 Unthinkable Mistakes In List Building For Online Marketers

By Norberto Narciso

Being an Online Marketer myself, I am amazed by what I have observed among my fellow online marketers on how they spent so much money on list building… with no profitable results.

A little soul-searching and focus are needed on what and how it should be done to be effective. Only then you will be getting the results that you wanted.

Failure to realize these mistakes will surely lead to dissapointments and frustrations along the way.

Here they are;:

1. No clear vision on what needs to be done

This is due to information overload. Most of the time when I am attending a live seminars for online business, it is a very common sight that the hosts will be selling their products to the audience. Most of my friends will rush through the line with the intention to buy. I normally ask them, how many products you have purchased similar to this one? The common answer is, “certainly this is not my first and neither this is my last”.


2. Believing that once your website is published online, tons of visitors will just come

This is a serious mistake that happens especially to most beginners. But I can not blame them, as I myself being one of them when I started. Sometimes you are led to believe by some Gurus that an online business is just a “click of computer mouse” and you will make much money. This is far from the truth especially when you are a beginner in online business.

3. Website does not have a “call for an action” to capture the visitors information

This is a big waste. You’ve just spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars to build your website but no options included to capture the visitor’s relevant information (usually, first name and email address). Youve got to make sure that is included in your website, otherwise your online list building effort will just go down the drain, and so is your money.

4. Being nave that the visitor will give what you are looking for without getting something in return

In the old days, the business owner might be perceived as the King and the Customer might be under his mercy. But the reverse is true in today’s digital age. Relationship building is the key in today’s business climate. You’ve got to give in something preferably for free, in order to take something in return (name and email address) from your visitors.

5. Knowledge limitation in Traffic sources

This is a heavily guarded information in online business, believe it or not. Traffic is the “life-blood” of the online business. Therefore, it is very important to know the basic sources of traffic which you can tap for the survival of your online business. Without good stock of knowledge in Traffic sources, your online business will not progress as it should.

6. Lack of commitment

This is very common for beginners especially when they realized that the perceived easy business, is actually not an easy one! When disappointments are evident, they start to slow down and look for another online business. You need to be committed to finish what you have started and make it successful before switching for another online business. Mastery is the key.

Article marketing has many advantages that you can imagine, especially for beginners. Though writing is not everybodys cup of tea, but at least a free or cheaper option in traffic generation exists. I hate writing myself at the beginning but you will never know what will happen after seeing your first complete written article. In my case, it opens up another hobby and a chance to help someone in online business with interest in Article Marketing.

If you want to learn more or just simply advance your knowledge about Article Marketing, make sure to visit this link,

It could be the solution that you are looking for in Article Marketing niche. Check it out the link indicated and thank me later on.

If you have any questions about Article Marketing, I can be reach at

To your success!

About the Author: Make sure to visit this link to learn more and enhance your knowledge on

Artilce Marketing


Norberto has been an Online Marketer since 2010 and owns a number of Niche websites on List Building, Traffic Generation, Article Marketing, Dynamic Productivity, Ideal Fitness System & Riches with Rentals. Can be reach for comments, inquiries and discussions on related matters at


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Workplace Policy

Having A Clear Understanding Of What Bankruptcy Des Moines Means

byAlma Abell

One of the most important things that a bankruptcy attorney brings to the table is explaining what exactly Bankruptcy Des Moines is. Most people understand that filing bankruptcy is about eliminating some of your debt. However, they are unaware of the fact that there are limitations and consequences associated with filing as well. Some people are surprised to learn that they might be better off pursuing a debt settlement than filing bankruptcy depending on their financial situation.

Deciding What Kind of Bankruptcy To File

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 is also referred to as liquidation or straight Bankruptcy Des Moines. Chapter 7 is reserved for individuals who are buried under an unreasonable amount of debt. Any way you slice the debt it is not physically possible for someone to pay it off in three to five years. A lot of people consider Chapter 7 to be the better option because it wipes the slate clean. The only downside to Chapter 7 is the fact that some of your assets will be seized and liquidated in order to pay the creditors the money you owe them.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

A lot of people consider Chapter 13 to be more responsible option. This is because Chapter 13 is about committing to a repayment plan and paying off all of your debts in the next three to five years. Chapter 13 is the option for people who still want to file even though they do not qualify for Chapter 7.

When you consult with a bankruptcy lawyer they are going to help you figure out whether or not Bankruptcy Des Moines is the answer to your problems. They are going to help you figure out what kind you should file; and then they are going to help you do all of the paperwork. Hiring a lawyer for the paperwork alone is enough of a good reason because one little mistake could end up costing you really big when it comes to filing.