Q. An employee has asked me, as his direct supervisor, to provide him a recommendation on his LinkedIn page. He’s a good employee and I don’t see any harm in granting his request. Are there any risks?
A. One of the more interesting features of LinkedIn is the ability to recommend those to whom you are connected. Despite the apparent value of this system, I would counsel against providing any recommendations on LinkedIn or other Internet-based portals or networking sites.
If a recommended employee is later fired, the odds are pretty high that the employee will try to use that recommendation as evidence of pretext in a later discrimination suit.
Social media provide a gold mine of information to use in employment lawsuits. Employees’ Facebook pages, YouTube videos and blogs are all fertile ground for discovering useful information to use against an employee. If employers are going to swim in these waters, they need to be equally mindful that what they write about an employee can also be used against the employer.
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