Investigation of Employee’s Social Network Sites

In today’s technology driven society, almost everyone has some type of social media account.  While most young people think nothing of the reflection your page might have regarding prospective employment, it is estimated that three-quarters of employers look at applicants’ Facebook presence to see what they’re doing outside of work.  While estimates approximately 1 in 10 young people have been denied jobs based off their Facebook postings, there are laws that protect a worker’s privacy when it comes to what these employers may take into account when selecting a new hire.

An excerpt from author Steven Sack’s book The Employee Rights Handbook, describes the laws surrounding employer’s growing curiosity to search current and prospective employee’s social media pages: “While no law prohibits employers from searching online social network sites to conduct background checks of job applicants, some states, including New York, have laws prohibiting companies from refusing to hire workers as a result of legally permissible recreational activities (such as the use of alcohol or cigarettes) before or after the work day.”

Sack later advises “Be aware that if you are denied a job because you post negative comments about an employer’s labor practices, this may violate the National Labor Relations Act.  You may also have a viable lawsuit resulting from a breach of your privacy rights in this area.” In addition, you may also have protection from the First Amendment, which protects workers from being fired for posting complaints about their jobs or employers.  In a recent case, a teenager’s position was revoked by her employer the day before she was to begin work, because she tweeted complaints about the position.

If you feel you have been wrongly denied a job based on your social media presence, or you feel your privacy rights have been violated during your employment, contact Steven Mitchell Sack, an experienced New York employment law attorney.  Call (917) 371-8000 or visit

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