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Social media is right at our fingertips, allowing extensive networking, new and evolving ways to job hunt, and, for some, a method to investigate employees. It seems like this could be a great way for dealerships to study employees and the temptation to learn about your employees and keep an eye on their actions is strong. However, using social media as a dealership HR tool can also lend to regulatory complaints, lawsuits, and public backlash.

At this point, regulations and laws surrounding social media are still evolving, allowing for mixed results in the event that employees are disciplined or terminated for social media activity. Currently Facebook, and social media in general, falls under the Stored Communications Act, which was created in 1986, 5years before the public release of self-contained networks such as American Online. The intent of the act is to prohibit unauthorized, intentional access to a facility, and as a result, obtain stored information.

This act is still in affect while social media regulations are being created and tested. Various newer regulations occasionally work against the SCA, allowing employers to look at social media and use it as they please when the content is considered in open, public view.

Currently, it is risky to investigate employee social media pages as the regulations dealing with complaints and lawsuits continue to be a work in progress. A wise approach to social media at this time is for dealership managers to request legal counsel before interacting with any employee in regards to private social media communications.

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Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on January 9, 2014 at 8:55pm

Also kind of tells me they have very little confidence in their ability to perform a simple google search! :)

Comment by Rebecca Ward on January 8, 2014 at 9:38am

I've seen that too. It's very dependent on management style and how much risk they're willing to take with evolving regulations and law.

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on January 7, 2014 at 11:55pm

I have seen several companies using a release form demanding ALL social ID's from candidates...

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