As an organisation we award designations and qualifications. From time to time we get reports of individuals falsely holding themselves out on LinkedIn as qualified. To investigate these, employees use their personal accounts to view the profiles of the alleged offenders.
By using their accounts are employees processing their personal information as well as those of the individuals they are investigating? I am struggling to find a lawful basis for asking employees to use their accounts (imbalance of power negates consent etc).
You’d obviously need to have a look at LinkedIn’s Ts&Cs, but could you perhaps set up a generic account used solely for this purpose? I guess it depends on how many people the organisation has fulfilling this role, as it’s probably not advisable to have multiple users sharing one generic account.
Thank you Hellen. We do have legal responsibilities to uphold the credibility of the profession, and investigations are usually prompted by complaints. Nevertheless, your points are extremely useful and give me another angle to consider this from.
(Part II of my answer)
I would hazard that the answer to this is no. The responsibility for discovering whether someone’s qualifications are bone fide or not is that of the organisation relying upon them to appoint or employee an individual. In that instance they have a very clear legitimate interest for checking and investigating an individual.
You could also potentially claim that your organisation has a legitimate interest in not permitting people to claim your certification when they do not have it. But you can’t ask an employee to do this using their own personal LinkedIn profile.
Its been a while since I did a deep dive into LinkedIn’s terms – at one point you couldn’t have a corporate account, but this might have changed. But I would reiterate the point that you need to understand your motivations for doing this in the first place.
(Part I of my answer)
To clarify, what you are saying is that your employees, as part of their employed role, are using their own personal LinkedIn accounts to track down individuals who are falsely claiming to have qualifications offered by your organisation.
My first question is why? You need to be very clear where your responsibilities lie. Is it part of your organisation’s core mission to uncover individuals who are claiming your certifications erroneously? Are you responsible for the fraudulent action of someone claiming to hold your certification.