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FCRA, EEOC and employee privacy: A legal update

In the last month, employers have been top of mind for the courts, including the Supreme Court. The legislatures have been no different, focused on bringing mandates such as increased minimum wage and the nuances of the FCRA into law.

But, which cases do you need to know about? How will the outcomes affect your business? Five decisions that include FCRA and EEOC legislation, as well as decisions affecting employee privacy, are need to know for HR professionals and employers.

We’ll keep you updated as these issues progress.

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Employers can check applicants’ LinkedIn references without violating the FCRA

The legal viability of LinkedIn was under scrutiny in the courts, but it has been decided that employers are free to continue using LinkedIn to check applicants’ references with or without their knowledge. [Tweet “Employers continue using LinkedIn w/ or w/o applicant knowledge.”]LinkedIn is not qualified as a credit reporting agency (CRA), and as such has avoided many of the reporting requirements that would imply.


Employee Privacy

New Connecticut law prohibits employer access to employees’ personal online accounts

Email, social media, and online retail accounts are now protected by law. In the past, employers were able to ask for applicants’ account information and passwords as a part of the the screening process. Now in Connecticut, employee privacy has been codified, and social media screening that accesses non-public information, is no longer legal.

DOL seeks information about employees’ use of smartphones

At this point, no laws or regulations are proposed by the DOL; however, they are investigating how employees use electronics, specifically smartphones with email capabilities, outside of working hours.


EEOC, court flip flops reveal challenges to employers facing accommodation requests

The court has recently decided several cases that seem to be contradictory in the matter of employee accommodation. In the past, charts or “cheat sheets” may have helped employers decide how to handle accommodation requests, but the recent court decisions make it necessary to evaluate each case individually. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a complicated proposition, and implementing it requires creativity and flexibility from HR professionals and employers.

Wait, I thought we couldn’t ask about religion in hiring? The impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch

In the Supreme Court Decision, Justice Scalia writes, “An employer may not make an applicant’s religious practice, confirmed or otherwise, a factor in employment decisions.”

The decision was made June 1, and the court sided with the EEOC against Abercrombie & Fitch. Much has been written about this case, but the bottom line is that religion and the practices that come with it cannot be a part of the hiring decision.


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