It’s no secret that auto dealerships have frequently been forced to defend themselves against discrimination claims by employees and agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As a result, many dealers have instituted comprehensive human resources programs to avoid potential problems. However, new technology brings new challenges.
As the use of social media grows, more and more dealerships are using the internet to screen potential employees. Many managers tasked with hiring find these sites to be particularly helpful because they perceive that this information reflects a more accurate representation of the applicant beyond the interview. This influx of information regarding applicants would seem to be a great way to vet their ability to “fit in” with a company.
While social media may allow employers to learn vast amounts of information about job applicants, hiring managers who even casually use these tools to gather information about a prospective employee could expose the dealership to legal risks. Given the real possibility for inappropriate and illegal uses in the hiring context, organizations need to carefully consider how, if at all, they utilize the sites when screening candidates.
Discrimination Claims – When a job candidate is the subject of a social media search there’s a possibility that the search will reveal information that would be off limits in an interview, such as age or marital status. Hiring managers should be very careful in using private information people are posting publicly to make hiring decisions. An employer’s availing themselves of such information could pave the way for allegations of discrimination if the employee or applicant believes that the employer used such information to make an adverse employment decision. A risk may be created that that this protected class information actually is being considered or, even if it is not, putting your organization in the position of having to defend a claim knowing that this information existed on the sites you visited. Risk factors include:
Information regarding age, race, religion, sex, disability, or other protected characteristics, such as pregnancy, illness or disability. For example, a person’s Facebook page may disclose their religion. Once an employer knows that information, the fact that the employer knew the potential employee’s religion can be used in an employment discrimination suit.
Checking social media or the Internet only on applicants of a certain race or gender.
Searching on all applicants, but using the same information differently against one particular type of applicants. For example, if all of your applicants had pictures of themselves of drinking alcohol in public, but you viewed that fact more negatively against females, that could be considered discrimination.
Rejecting an applicant based on conduct protected by lawful off-duty conduct laws.
Rejecting an applicant because of his or her political activities may violate state constitutional law.
To avoid these legal obstacles, you may decide that it’s better to not even collect that information, so you can say that you didn’t have access to it. Another procedure would be to have someone other than a hiring manager or decision maker in human resources conduct an online background check of job applicants. The individual who does the online check should avoid sharing with decision makers any personal information about a job candidate that’s not relevant to the hiring decision. This individual should be properly trained to avoid improper access and to screen out information that can’t be lawfully considered in the decision-making process. Having a firewall between the hiring manager and social media information about job applicants makes it difficult for a plaintiff subsequently to contend that the hiring manager discriminated against him or her based on a legally protected characteristic.
Invasion of privacy claims by potential employees – Generally, a potential employee will have a tough time asserting this claim because you need a “reasonable expectation of privacy” and a lot of people keep their social media profiles open to the public. However, it’s clear that if the applicant is using the highest privacy settings and the employer somehow gets past all these barriers, the claim is stronger.
A point to consider is how the hiring manager will obtain access to the candidate’s page. Many social media users have some degree of privacy established in their settings. As a result, access to the candidate’s page may require “friending” the applicant and the applicant accepting the request. Not a good idea.
Using an outside agency to screen applicants – If an employer uses a third party to conduct searches on job candidates the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and applicable state law on background checks likely will apply. The Fair Credit Reporting Act governs “employment background checks for the purposes of hiring” and applies if “an employer uses a third-party screening company to prepare the check.” Thus, if an employer is using an outside resource to view social networking sites and provide information, the applicant must be informed of the investigation, given an opportunity to consent, and notified if the report is used to make an adverse decision. It’s important to ensure that any company you use to perform background checks follows the correct procedures, and that your employment applications contain the proper notifications.
Best practices for the use of social media in hiring decisions:
Develop a policy on whether or not the hiring manager will search the internet or social media sites in hiring.
If you decide to use social media in hiring, do the searches on applicants consistently and in a uniform manner.
Make sure candidates are notified, in writing, about the companies use of social media to gather information, e.g., on job applications.
Ensure that employment decisions are made based on lawful, verified information. Don’t allow factors to be considered that have no relevancy to job performance, such as race, age, or sexual orientation. They’re all protected statuses by law and using them as criteria for hiring is discriminatory.
Follow best practices in identifying a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the hiring decision with the documentation supporting the decision.
Prohibit “friending” a potential employee to learn things about them that the general public doesn’t have access to.
Discourage supervisors from being social media friends with their direct reports.
A world without religion would certainly have no grounds for religious persecution, that’s true, but would that equate to less conflict? Personally, I don’t think so.
Firstly, let’s deal with the popular fallacy that ‘most wars are caused by religion’. This is simply untrue. An academic study on the subject of the role of religion in 73 major conflicts over the past 3,500 years concluded that 60% of wars had no religious motivation whatsoever and only 4% were viewed as truly religious wars.
Any identifiable ‘set’ to which you might belong – family, colour, creed, nation, class and a myriad of other separate allegiances – defines two basic groups: an ‘us’ group and an ‘other’ group. Our human tendency is to want to bond with the ‘us’ group and part of that bonding process involves an equivalent distancing of ourselves from the ‘other’ group. If conflict should arise between such groups, potentially escalating all the way up to warfare, that bonding alone will, in many cases, be powerful enough motivation to dictate behaviour.
There are many issues that governments choose to resolve by means of conflict and there are, undeniably, cases in which governments have sought to make use of existing social divisions, including religious divisions, in order to pursue their own agendas. As an example, consider the demonisation of the Jews in Germany during the 1930s achieved via a massive propaganda campaign following the seizing of power by the Nazi party. This was a necessary precursor to the subsequent attempt to eradicate the population in the ‘final solution’. The purpose of the campaign was to get people to view the Jews, not as human beings, but as vermin.
The holocaust was an example of what has more recently become known as ‘ethnic cleansing’ – a phrase I personally find unpalatable – but the reasons behind this attempt at genocide were basically not religious. The Jews were used as a scapegoat for the failure of the country up to and including the First World War. In the act of rebuilding the country and uniting the nation, they were identified and labelled as the ‘other’ group. The distancing of the vast majority of the population from the ‘other’ group resulted in a strengthening of allegiance with the ‘us’ group which, in this case, was the nation; and that was the desired result.
The Jews were not persecuted by the Nazis because of their religious beliefs. They were persecuted because they were identified by a ruthless administration as a dispensable and relatively defenseless minority that was also easily recognisable as the ‘other’. What would Hitler have done in the same situation had religious division not been a tactic available to him i.e. if religion simply did not exist?
In the conclusion to Mein Kampf, we may read the following:
‘A state which, in this age of racial poisoning, dedicates itself to the care of its best racial elements must someday become lord of the Earth.’ – Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
In those few words we have a central tenet of the Hitler philosophy. His struggle (kampf) was not primarily about religion; it was about race. If religion had not been available as a tool to assist his administration in the identification of a scapegoat group (the other), there were plenty of other races ranked in the lower echelons, in his grand order of things, that might have equally well sufficed.
Personally, I believe it is naive to conclude that without religion there would be less conflict though it is true that there would be one less social division that might be manipulated by those in positions of power. Quite simply, war is a frequent consequence of one society seeking to dominate another for whatever purpose.
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Christians are constantly looking for new sources of worship and faith, looking to find individuals who believe the same to help them grow in their faith. Christian social networking sites are starting to become more and more popular, bringing together individuals who can share their lives with one another.
There is more to Christian social networking sites than just meeting others who believe in the same things as you. Christian social networking sites are bringing together individuals who are looking for support as they go on their spiritual journey. Understanding the support that can be had through these sites can help to show you exactly how strong these social networking sites can be.
One way that these different social networking sites can provide support to their members is through prayer support. Individuals can suddenly find an army of Christians who are ready and willing to pray for their needs. Much like prayer circles in other religious groups, these social networking sites can simply create prayer support on a larger scale. Individuals can come to a social networking site and realize that every single member of that site may be praying for them. This type of spiritual support is second to none, helping all individuals to feel safe, comfortable, and cared for through prayer.
Faith his never something that is stagnant – it is constantly growing and flourishing. The only true way for someone to grow in their faith is to have the support of others. Websites can bring individuals together to allow them to discuss various parts of their faith. Individuals can speak with other members about their beliefs, trying to get some questions answered as they work to become closer to God. Individuals can also go through groups to talk to priests and ministers, getting the spiritual guidance that they need to grow in their faith. Those who are looking for religious support will be able to find it through these different websites.
While these social networking sites focus on the Christian faith, they are not regulated to topics about religion. Individuals will be able to find the support that they need on a wide variety of subjects, from those dealing with religion to those not dealing with religion. Individuals can receive moral support for any dilemmas that they face, and can seek out advice from those who come from the same faith base as they do. This outside support is based around individuals of the same faith, helping to make that support that much stronger.
Each Christian Social Networking Site is bringing together individuals in ways that they have never been able to be brought together before. Individuals feel comfortable sharing all aspects of their life with those who believe the same as they do. These sites are creating support groups for millions of individuals who are looking for help in faith, love, and life.
What do wellness, MLM, and religion have in common? First of all it is not possible to have wellness without a set of beliefs. Your religion is your set of beliefs. Multilevel marketing, done correctly, is also intricately interconnected with your beliefs. For the past 12 years I have been involved in a wellness related multilevel marketing program. I have religiously shared my program with others.
100 years ago the American people were the healthiest people on earth. We experienced a level of wellness that was the envy of the world. Wellness involves the total health of the whole being, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. It is our religion, or belief system that governs our wellness. When you find a product that you believe has been very beneficial to you, it is only natural to desire to share it with those we love.
I would like to challenge your thinking on what I think are some myths about multilevel marketing and religion. The first myth is that multilevel marketing is a get rich quick pyramid program. The second myth is that religion is about forcing our beliefs on others.
In a pyramid scheme the person to the top of the pyramid gets the most money. If you follow that logic almost any company is a pyramid scheme. The people who do the most physical labor received the least money. As you move up in management you make more money. The CEO our president makes the most money. The truth is in a good multilevel marketing program any individual is able to outperform those above him. This is accomplished by sharing your beliefs and testimony of what the products have done for you. Because we all have our own religious beliefs, most people don’t care. Multilevel marketing can be very discouraging because most people don’t share your beliefs.
The second myth is really rather closely related. If you are passionate about the products that you represent, it is only natural that you wish to share them with others. When an individual does not believe you they perceive that you are trying to force something on them that they do not want. This same thing is true in a church religious setting. Regardless to what church, denomination, or faith you adhere to, even if you’re an atheist, there is considerable divergence and beliefs. We tend to place labels on people as being conservative or liberal. Often those who follow old traditions and standards are considered conservative and those that are younger and have less ties to the traditions and standards are considered more liberal.
My experiences has been that when I promote a product it all depends on the individual’s particular situation at that time. To enjoy true wellness it is important to understand the role of prevention as a relates to degenerative disease. When one faces a wellness crisis it is often too late to take preventative measures.
I believe that one of the greatest problems with multilevel marketing is that many people present their wellness product as some kind of magic bullet our panacea. The truth is there are no magic bullets or panaceas. While the wellness product may be very beneficial, it is only a component of true wellness. I have been sick only one day in the last 15 years and know exactly why I got sick that time. It was not because I skipped my vitamins, but it was because I seriously compromise my immune system.
I have a sincere desire to help people achieve a greater level of wellness. I understand that if any one of our five domains, physical, mental, social, emotional, or spiritual are compromise it will affect every other domain. Simply put if you are experiencing an emotional crisis, it will impact you physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually as well. What you eat impact every domain. The food that we partake of is what our whole being derives its energy from. We receive energy through all of our five senses, taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell. The source of their energy will determine whether it has a positive or negative effect on our being.