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  • Social networks and employees’ right to privacy in the pre-employment stage: some comparative remarks and interrogations

    The purpose of this work is to undertake a comparative analysis of the protection of the employees’ right to privacy in social networks in the pre-employment stage. We compare the US, Brazilian and European legislation. Our analysis is threefold: In the first part we provide a possible definition of the concept of “social networking sites”, we offer some thoughts on the nature of these relatively new, digital channels of communication, stressing the conflict between the intended audience of the network and the actual audience and offer an enunciation of the most common practices concerning the use of information of job applicants available in social networks. We also examine to which extent employees’ right to privacy may be balanced against employers’ lawful rights and interests such as to recruit the best possible employees and to avoid liability on grounds of employees’ misconduct. Secondly, the reader is offered a study on the regulatory solutions reached. Potential dangers are studied from the angle of privacy protection and anti-discrimination. Thirdly, we attempt to provide some possible justifications on the use of these methods. The final part presents our conclusions. We believe that the "regulatory confusion" on this matter may be justified on grounds of being a delicate matter. We propose that there should be a “model statute” regulating these practices which member states could implement in their national legislations.

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