Posted in: Communication, Documentation, Employment law, Special Report
There’s a hidden danger if one of your supervisors uses the social-media “recommend” option for an employee or former employee.
Consider the issue with a site like LinkedIn, which allows users to “recommend” other users. The author of a recommendation, at the request of another, provides what some consider to be a professional endorsement of the person’s skills, abilities and experience.
OK, now let’s consider the possibility that the author of the recommendation is the person’s supervisor or former supervisor. You can see, in the real world, how that might play out: The person requests from a former supervisor what seems like a harmless courtesy — a recommendation on a social-media site. The supervisor — wanting to be a good Joe or Jane — thinks, “Why not?” even though the person may have been a less-than-model employee.
Here’s where the problem comes in: Suppose the employee was let go for poor performance or poor behavior. And suppose the person’s performance review at work accurately reflected those shortcomings. And suppose the person– because of race, age, etc. — happens to be a member of a protected class listed in the Civil Right Act.
Here’s what you’ll have: Conflicting appraisals — one good, one bad — for a person who was fired for poor performance. That’s called an “inconsistency,” and it’s the basis of a slew of lawsuits charging employers with discriminatory practices.
Warn your supervisors: All references, be they via social media or otherwise, have to go through HR. That way, you can spot inconsistencies before they ever leave the building.