A news story that appeared on the CBC News Oct 1, 2007 on Canada Border Services Agency officers who work in B.C. accused of posting inappropriate and distasteful material on the internet. This is a great example of employees posting information on the net in their personal life that concerns their employers. It seems like employers are becoming concerned with employees or job applicants posting inappropriate material on sites like Facebook or mySpace. While this activity is done on your own time and reflects your personal opinion, it looks like it may not only hurt your job application but it can also get you fired.
“According to a 2006 CareerBuilder.com survey of more than 1,150 hiring managers, one-quarter of them reported using search engines to screen job candidates, while one in 10 said they’ve used social-networking sites. The survey also found that more than half of managers have chosen not to hire an applicant after viewing their online profiles.”
It would be interesting to see an employer by-pass a candidate or fire an employee for a job based on Facebook or Google results. This would be particularly interesting in a unionized environment. Suppose two candidates with equal qualifications and seniority bid for a job and one candidate is bypassed due to what the employer deems as inappropriate content on Facebook or a blog. I would like to be a fly on the wall at that arbitration hearing. At this point, no such case has been publicized but that would sure make sure some interesting reading (from an HR perspective).