Often such accounts may contain information on the individual's religious affiliation, ethnicity, race and other factors that cannot be used in making a hiring decision, he said. If the company later declines a hiring offer, or terminates an employee, they would be opening the door to numerous state and federal anti-discrimination claims, he said.
"You could almost argue that this is a positive thing for employers because now it cannot be imputed on you that you violated these statutes," he said.
The main takeaway for enterprises is that they should pay attention to their social media policies, Sweeney added. "From my perspective what they should be taking away from all this is that they should be reviewing their social media policies continuously," he said. "These laws are changing on a frequent basis so reviewing them with counsel or HR personnel is a wise thing to do."
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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