This Note analyzes the regulatory and legal issues potentially triggered by an employer’s screening and use of an applicant’s social media profile(s) in the hiring process. The Note proceeds in three parts. Part I provides background information, including a history of the rise and use of social media in the hiring process, current various state and federal legislative measures designed to protect applicants’ online privacy, and the reasoning behind such legislation. Part II discusses the potential discrimination and other labor and employment-related lawsuits to which employers may be exposed by using online information in hiring practices. It is important to mention that the Note does not focus on issues of privacy in pre-employment screening. Instead, the Note is concerned with discrimination claims in pre-employment screening; specifically, claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and some state laws prohibiting “lifestyle discrimination.” After addressing the distinct legal issues triggered by the use of social media in hiring decisions, Part III analyzes pending legislation and its inefficiencies and considers the significance of why employers should self-regulate. The Note then concludes by proposing best practices and guidelines for the development of a social media screening policy that reduces an employer’s risk of litigation surrounding pre-employment social media screening.

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