Today's Veterinary Business

DEC-JAN 2017

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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46 Today's Veterinary Business Leadership Social Media "Research" Social media makes finding infor- mation about people, including those you are considering hiring, so easy. But is searching on social me- dia platforms for information about job candidates legitimate? As with most broad questions posed about the ever-evolving internet, the answer is "It depends." Researching job applicants' so- cial media profiles is not, in general, illegal, but don't do so haphazardly. Instead, create a clear written policy about which sites will be reviewed to find clearly defined pieces of information. Also determine who will review these profiles and what information will be housed in your records. To add a layer of protection to your social media policy, consider having a person who does not have the ability to hire — a non-decision maker — do the research. Make sure you follow the pol- icy consistently for all candidates, not only certain ones. Acting incon- sistently when an issue involves a protected class could open you up to a discrimination lawsuit. A pro- tected class is any group of people with common characteristics who have legal protections from dis- crimination because of those char- acteristics. These characteristics include race, color, religion, nation- al origin, age, gender, pregnancy status, disabilities and more. Here's how something could quickly go wrong. Let's say you obtain a piece of information that theoretically could lead to your not hiring a candidate. Then let's say you don't hire that candidate, but this piece of information had no bearing on your decision. The candidate could claim a connection between your hiring decision and an employ- ment or labor law violation. Here's another issue to consider: If your investigation includes a re- view of the job applicant's credit his- tory, financial history, driver's license verification or other pieces of related information, you may run afoul of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Employee Use As of September 2016, 87 percent of people in the United States used the The internet, you and your employees Practices should have clear written policies so everyone is aware of what they can do online during work hours and what is always inappropriate. internet, according to Pew Research Center. And, according to a Pew report from November 2016, 79 percent of Americans who use the internet are on Facebook. Smaller percentages of people are on other social media channels, such as Instagram (32 percent), Pinterest (31 percent), LinkedIn (29 percent) and Twitter (24 percent). The bottom line is that virtually every veterinary practice will have at least some employees who use the internet. So, how does your practice monitor internet use by employees who are on the clock? Employees want privacy in their internet use, whereas the practice wants to make sure that work time is well spent. Employers also want to ensure that in-clinic computer use does not involve inappropriate or illegal activities. Telemedicine may come to mind when you think about internet legal issues that can affect veterinary practices. However, it's not the only issue. Let's examine three others. Leadership H.R. HUDDLE By Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD

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