SASKATOON – In a virtual world that’s quickly evolving, a grey area exists in the legality of misrepresenting information online.
“There are very few cases. This is a completely emerging area of the law. So there are only a few cases, maybe a handful in Canada involving electronic availability, electronic media and employment obligations,” said Daphne Taras, a labour and employment relations professor.
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If you have inaccurate information on your LinkedIn profile for example and are caught, an employer cannot force you to update or remove the information.
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“LinkedIn and Facebook are the personal property of the employee. It would be similar to off duty conduct. What you do in your off hours is of no business to the employer, unless there is a real significant reason for the employer to be concerned,” said Taras.
However, there is a balance between employee and employer relations. Standing your ground could do more harm than good.
“It has got to be clear in an employee’s head that just because the law lets them do something, doesn’t mean they will be employed,” says Taras.
Carol Bird, owner of Resume Resort in Saskatoon, says social media is often used as a background check for potential employees and she warns of the delicate balance of updating LinkedIn.
“It’s very sketchy. The problem is if you’re updating your LinkedIn and you’re on top of your LinkedIn a lot and you’re working, then your present employer can get a little suspicious. ‘Oh I noticed you have a new resume on your LinkedIn profile’. So it is very difficult because social media pretty much makes it that you have no privacy any more,” explained Bird.
It’s a double-edged sword. Although profiles are your personal property, in a world where access to data is just a click away it’s unlikely inaccurate information or changes to your profile will go unnoticed.