There are ever changing laws that tells employers what they can and can’t have access to on social media. It wasn’t long ago that employers were requiring people to either friend their bosses or give them their social media passwords so they could look through every post, message and like past and present. It is illegal for them to do this now, but if you chose to friend fellow employees and they share your information, that’s fair game. If you call in sick to work and they see you went to the ball game, they can take action. Recently racism has been a big issue. Several people have been fired over racist tweets and comments. This is absolutely within the employer’s right.
Companies should have a clear set of parameters as to how they will research employees, as well as if and how, they will continue to monitor them. Be clear on what you are looking for. Know what is acceptable and what is a deal breaker. Have this written in your employee handbook, so there can be no confusion. If this is in place and you treat every employee the same, this will reduce the chance that you will be accused of targeting or discrimination. If you have the resources, the best course of action is to give a company agreed upon set of parameters to a third party to do the screening.
Where you need to be cautious is identifying what your employees can share on social media. Make it clear that any announcements needs to be approved or wait until they are shared through the official social media channels. You also need to make clear what kinds of things could be deemed fireable offenses. Partying pictures, racist posts, skipping work and anger with the company or your boss can all be things you make clear are not acceptable to share on social media. Again, giving them this information BEFORE it becomes an issue protects you, as the company, from lawsuits.