A recently-filed California workplace discrimination lawsuit alleges a former supervisor at Amazon ordered an employee to scour the social media platforms of job applicants, looking for information on their gender, ethnicity and race. When the employee raised concern about this (as well as the fact that she reportedly earned significantly less than male colleagues doing similar work). She was fired two months later.
Amazon has been criticized in the past for its lack of diversity. This was partially why the worker ascertained that what she was being asked to do was illegal, in violation of California’s anti-discrimination laws. Her lawsuit states that when she was fired, it was communicated to her that her direct supervisor had admitted to accessing job applicant social media accounts for the purpose of gleaning details about candidates’ ethnicity and race. The director who fired her also reportedly conceded that the claimant made less than male colleagues by that this simply “happens all the time” at the company. She was allegedly fired for failure to meet expectations (even though she’d been promoted within five months of joining the team).
Although the incident made headlines because it involved Amazon, the fact is incidents like this happen a lot more than one might think. Social media can prove incredibly useful for job recruiters in publicizing job openings, etc. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter can be valuable in gathering information on prospective employees, and many companies use these outlets to conduct background checks on workers to ensure they are qualified for a certain position. However, it’s a fine line that has to be walked in terms of how those jobs are publicized and what type of information is being sought when recruiters access applicants’ social media pages. Continue reading