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Social media at center of Texas workplace discrimination debate

Everyone wants to make a good first impression. However, with social media, sometimes making a poor first impression with a hiring manager before even going in for an interview is easier now in Texas. A debate has arisen as to whether hiring managers should be allowed to use information about job candidates that they find on Facebook or Twitter, particularly if this information refers to religion, sex and age. These are the exact types of information that are not allowed to be used in hiring according to federal law in order to prevent workplace discrimination.

Recent research shows that providing personal information on social media sites can result in hiring discrimination. In one study, a Muslim candidate was discriminated against more than a Christian candidate was. A similar study was done to determine whether discrimination occurred toward a gay person versus a straight person, but no evidence of discrimination was found in this particular case.

Experts say that it is best that employers avoid looking at people's social networking pages when trying to making a hiring decision. Considering information about job candidates that is present on social media sites can actually present a risk to employers. Employers who are accused of discriminating against job candidates could face legal problems in the long run, experts say.

Employers legally are not allowed to treat a job candidate or employee differently on the basis of areas such as race, age or sex. If there is evidence that a company has engaged in workplace discrimination, the employee who has been mistreated has the right to pursue a workplace discrimination claim against that company. In the case of discrimination against a job candidate in Texas, a remedy that could result from a successfully litigated claim may include placement in the job.

Source:, Employers discriminate based on job candidate's personal info on social media, survey finds, John D. Oravecz, Nov. 22, 2013

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