Charlie Ryan – Recruitment Expert says:” I think the first area to consider here is that employers through the recruitment process are not actually collecting or retaining any data during this process therefore there is no breach here. They will however be accessing and searching to see what is available in the public domain about a candidate or applicant. It is down to that individual to understand how to protect what can be viewed or “found” about them, to ensure judgements are not being made which may result in a job offer being withdrawn and very often does.

As an employee, this really is a different area. I think it is unfair to undertake this sort of viewing on an individual unless that individual has invited or accepted you as a “friend”, at which point they are happily sharing information with you. If that isn’t the case, isn’t it reasonable to assume it is a form of stalking as you are being proactive about following or finding out things about someone who hasn’t given you permission? I think where employees are signing consent forms, they are doing it unaware of the length of authorisation this gives and employer and it should be limited to work emails and the monitoring of work owned devices but only to ensure work is being done and they are not spending all day on Facebook for example.

I also agree it needs to be made clearer if an employer is giving a health device which monitors location and activity and the employer will be accessing that, as opposed to giving it as a true incentive for the employee to monitor themselves. There are a number of employers who give out “fit bits” to their employees and I am not convinced the employee is aware to the degree they can be monitored. I think this needs to be made more explicit as opposed to the fact it is seen as a positive company gesture towards their health.

It is a shame in my opinion that this excessive social media searching is happening and surprising that employers have the time to spend on it. It shouldn’t need to be done if your employees are doing the job you need them to and we are focusing on managing the wrong things if you need to be aware of their social media world to find evidence of them not doing their job! I certainly haven’t got time to manage this in my employees and more importantly some of them are connected with me, but I appreciate it is their personal life and not something I need to bring into the world of work ”

Comment based on : Financial Times