Can an employer review social media posts for the purpose of assessing job candidates?

Sometimes, according to a guide on data protection in employment released by the national Data Protection Authority for Latvia, Datu valsts inspekcija,

Some key points:

  • The purpose for which the applicant has created a social network profile should be distinguished (i.e. private or professional). For example, if the applicant stated in the application that he regularly publishes his opinion on some topics related to the field of the position, familiarization with the content created by the applicant would be permissible in order to gain insight into the applicant’s professionalism.
  • At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that in some cases the applicant’s activities in the private profile may also be taken into account. The employer needs to be able to objectively justify it, though. (For example, when the position to be held involves significant publicity and the applicant’s reputation is important.) The employee must be informed about this before the selection.
  • When applying the employer’s (controller’s) legitimate interests as the legal basis for data processing, a balancing test must be performed.