Germany to ban Facebook checks for new employees

If a new law makes it through the parliamentary process, using Facebook to vet employees will soon become illegal in Germany.

Recent surveys have shown that nearly half of human resources departments routinely check the Facebook pages of potential employees looking for evidence of unacceptable behaviour.

Drug abuse, racist comments and heavy drinking have all been cited as reasons for rejecting an otherwise suitable candidate with more than a third of companies admitting they did not short-list applicants with worrying social networking profiles.

According to reports in two German newspapers this morning, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has proposed new legislation which would prevent companies from gathering data from social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, which don't have a business-oriented model.

LinkedIn and its industry-facing Ilk would remain immune, but then people are less inclined to brag about their boozing and bed-hopping behaviour on the more serious sites.

The legislation will also stop employers from monitoring 'personal locations' like break rooms and toilets and will impose stricter conditions on the ability of bosses to snoop on phone calls and e-mails.