Specifically Minnesota provides the following:
Subdivision 1. Preference permitted. A private, nonpublic employer may grant preference to a veteran in hiring and promotion.
Subd. 2. Preference for spouse of disabled or deceased veteran; definition. A private, nonpublic employer may grant preference in hiring and promotion to a spouse of a disabled veteran who has a service-connected permanent and total disability and to a surviving spouse of a deceased veteran. “Disabled veteran” in this subdivision means a person who has had a compensable service-connected disability as adjudicated by the United States Veterans Administration, or by the retirement board of one of the several branches of the armed forces.
Subd. 3. Equal employment opportunity law. Granting preference under subdivision 1 or 2 does not violate any local or state equal employment opportunity law, including, but not limited to, chapter 363A.
Recruiting in the 21st Century
Employers have many platforms to publicize a position. Companies have long recruited employees through traditional channels, such as advertising in print and online, job fairs, and through industry organizations. But, with the social media explosion, employers have increasingly been turning to social media platforms to attract highly qualified veteran job applicants.
By utilizing Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites, employers make it significantly easier for applicants to find aggregated information about careers, employment opportunities and job fairs in one site. For many applicants, social media job posts are much more accessible and user friendly than traditional recruiting channels.
While social media is gaining strength as a recruitment technique, employers should be cautious to avoid discrimination claims. Social media profiles, especially Facebook, often disclose personal information that a prospective employer should not consider in a hiring decision.
Not only do employers have to be mindful of the potential to uncover information protected under Title VII as mentioned earlier, employers also must beware of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and statutes specified by particular state laws.
For example, a Facebook page may contain pictures or information about a candidate’s race, gender, religion, national origin or disability. If apotential candidate subscribes to an employer’s page by “liking” it, then the employer would have the ability to view that individual’s Facebook profile, including personal information that would otherwise be protected. This could give rise to a failure-to-hire claim if the candidate could demonstrate that personal information on his or her Facebook page was a factor in the potential employer’s rejection of the candidate’s application.
Some social media platforms may create less of a risk than others. In particular, LinkedIn may contain less personal information. As LinkedIn is a professional social media site, most users only keep professional information on their profile and usually do not share personal information that is often found on Facebook and other social media sites. Information that an employer is not allowed to consider in a hiring decision, such as political views, country of nationality, expectancy of a child, medical history, arrest history and more, would unlikely be on a user’s LinkedIn page.
While LinkedIn profiles may show information such as race, gender or visible disabilities, the risk of a failure-to-hire claim is smaller because those are the same traits that would be visible to an employer at an interview or job fair prior to a hiring decision.
Regardless of the type of social media platform used, one effective way to avoid social media-related failure-to-hire claims is to assign different individuals to manage the social media page from those making the hiring decisions. That way, those who are making hiring decisions do not have access to potentially protected information about applicants.