Social network LinkedIn faces a class-action lawsuit over a premium search feature on the website, in which an applicant’s co-workers from their work history are identified and may be approached. The lawsuit, Sweet v. LinkedIn, alleges ‘Reference Search’ prevented employment opportunities for plaintiffs Tracee Sweet, Lisa Jaramillo, James Ralston and Tiffany Thomas, The New York Times reported.
‘A reference search locates people in your network who can provide reliable feedback about a job candidate or business prospect,’ Linkedin says on its website. ‘You’ll see a list of people who have worked at the same company during the same time period as the member you’d like to learn more about.’
The plaintiffs’ lawsuit alleges that ‘LinkedIn members are not notified by LinkedIn (or anyone else) when potential employers run a Reference Report on them. ‘Indeed the only parties that have information concerning the running of a Reference Report on a LinkedIn member are LinkedIn and individual or entity that pulls the Reference Report.’
They then allege, ‘As such, any potential employer can anonymously dig into the employment history of any LinkedIn member, and make hiring and firing decisions based upon the information they gather, without the knowledge of the member, and without any safeguards in place as to the accuracy of the information that the potential employer has obtained.’
‘Such secrecy in dealing in consumer information directly contradicts the express purposes of the FCRA, which was enacted to promote accuracy, fairness, and the privacy of personal information assembled by credit reporting agencies,’ they continue. The plaintiffs, who say in the suit they are seeking damages and a trial by jury, are being represented by Tom M. Friedman and James L. Davidson.
Davidson told The Times ‘You may never know you did not get the job based on one of these so-called references.’ Meanwhile, LinkedIn spokesman Joseph Roualdes told The Times the lawsuit is without merit and that LinkedIn is serious about users’ privacy.
He told the newspaper ‘A reference search, which is only available to premium account holders, simply lets a searcher locate people in their network who have worked at the same company during the same time period as a member they would like to learn more about. A reference search does not reveal any of that member’s nonpublic information.’ MailOnline has reached out to the plaintiffs’ attorneys as well as LinkedIn for comment…. see more
source: dailymail UK