In situation B, we have a college graduate applying for his first position in the business world. The student has compromising photos of himself on his facebook, smoking weed presumably. I don’t think a “routine” Internet check of any applicant would turn up something he couldn’t easily have removed himself. It’s important to make sure there is nothing casting your professional image in a different light, floating around the Internet, unbeknownst to you. On facebook, photos won’t turn up of you unless you’re tagged in them. So, easy solution: look at your photos and un-tag any pictures you deem questionable. The student seems to have forgot a very important lesson for any job applicant in the 21st century. Personally, I lost sympathy for the student when it said he applied to an internship at a prestigious law firm, but then didn’t have the wherewithal to make sure a simple Internet background check turned anything up.
Even though the graduate didn’t exercise the most prudence in applying for this prestigious position, there is always legal recourse. In this day and age, there is a lawyer for everything, beyond simply prosecuting and defending criminals. Zoning, lawyers, personal injury lawyers, and corporate lawyers make the daily functioning of the world possible, and, sometimes disrupt it. Here, the student can hire a lawyer and claim discrimination against the firm, but in the long run, the case will probably be dropped, and the student back at square one. He could, on the other hand, if he wanted to be a real Pain Diaz, sue his friend for damages, which might have a foot to stand on in the legal world.
Supposing the friend did post the pictures without his permission, the photographer is certainly at fault for being a bad friend, but could he find himself in some sort of a legal bind? Or, at the mercy of his vengeful colleague? It would probably have to be proven that the friend took the pictures without the graduate’s knowledge, and then posted them as well. In that case, the graduate could probably take issue with his friend for some kind of damages, but the law firm found what it found, and made its own decision.
Of course this brings up a moral issue, as well as a legal one. Some people might think it funny to post pictures on facebook of social gatherings in order to relive the good times. However, others find this highly annoying to have to monitor facebook photos after every party. It is all fine and good to make your own choices on your own time, in a private setting, but everyone should remain prescient of the possibility of getting in trouble with employers. After all, as the entity responsible for your paychecks, and hopefully Medicare and insurance, corporations are well within their rights to monitor their employees, and potential employees, to see if their huge investment in personnel is paying off. Especially in the recent hard times, companies, more than ever, are trying to cut costs by singling out at-risk employees.
In the long run, this situation is much more of an educational tool, and cautionary tale, than something that can be analyzed from many different viewpoints. It doesn’t really matter whether the friend took the photos, or the buddy in the law-firm tipped the graduate off. The most important thing to take out of this whole dilemma is that it’s never smart to not check your facebook, or google yourself every once in a while!