Last week, various press outlets reported on a disturbing new HR trend – employers requiring access to the private Facebook accounts of prospective employees.
Companies checking the Facebook accounts of prospective employees is not new. It has become commonplace for HR departments and managers to both “Google” applicants and to see if they have Facebook accounts. It makes good business sense to do this. However, where the accounts had privacy setting restricting access to certain people or networks, that was the investigative end of the road for the employer. No longer.
Some employers (most published stories attribute this phenomenon to American companies) have taken to asking job applicants for their Facebook user names and passwords. This enables the employers to see the full content of any Facebook page attributed to the applicant. Other strategies include producing a computer and having the applicants sign on to Facebook during the interview, or requiring the applicant to “friend” the company’s HR manager.
Predictably, in today’s tough job market, many applicants are providing the information, believing they have little choice if they want the position.
However, isn’t this like letting the prospective employer into your home to rifle through your closets and drawers? Or permitting him/her to read your diary? Or to call your friends from high school? Why is personal Facebook access on the table now, when these other invasions of privacy are not? Should we be afraid to ask what’s next?
It is clear that the pendulum has swung too far. People (even job applicants) are entitled to their privacy, if they’ve had the good sense to maintain it thus far. This type of employer conduct may be justified if hiring an individual for some sort of high level security job. For most positions, it is sufficient to see if a candidate has a Facebook page. If the applicant has had the good sense to restrict access to his or her page, that good judgment should be good enough.
While recently interviewing lawyers to add to our review team roster, a candidate asked, “what are you looking for in a good document review lawyer?” With a large review team to manage, we had some thoughts!
First, we assume that the lawyers who apply for document review positions are legally qualified to review and assess documents for relevance/responsiveness, privilege, etc., although some may be better qualified if they have prior document review experience. Some lawyers may have a better aptitude for document review projects than others – one only needs to work on a project before knowing the answer to that question.
Beyond qualifications and aptitude, here are some traits that we believe make excellent document review lawyers:
The benefits of working as a review lawyer are personal to each one, but the one we hear most often are flexibility, which allows the lawyer to juggle other aspects of their life, while keeping their legal skills sharp. Many of our review lawyers enjoy delving into varying types of cases that they would not otherwise be exposed to in a practice environment.
Perhaps it is the “contract” idea that leads some to think of these positions as casual; however, we view all of our review lawyers as critical to e-discovery process and value them immensely.