Adam S. Forman, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Detroit and Chicago offices, was quoted in the Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, in “Employers Tiptoeing into TikTok Hiring: Beware, Attorneys Say,” by Dan Papscun and Paige Smith.

Following is an excerpt:

Employers … are turning to TikTok to recruit and hire workers, raising concerns among employment law attorneys who advise that the practice isn’t all fun and games.

TikTok, the popular video-based social media platform, debuted a pilot program this month with its own website for applying to jobs via the app, which provides resources, tips, and examples of quality personal pitches. The medium dissolves any previously-established protection against looks-based discrimination, encouraging what one attorney called “hyper superficiality,” or the idea that an applicant’s whole identity is visible via their videos. That flips the script of the usually-advised practice of employers scrubbing resumes of protected information that could be used to discriminate against an applicant.

Older workers are also potentially disadvantaged through the practice, both because they’re less likely to use the app and because hiding one’s age is antithetical to the medium of video.

Studies have shown that lower-paid workers in industries such as hospitality are less likely to return to previously held jobs, and—as employers scramble to fill those job openings—use of the app in hiring has spiked. For some, the trend is concerning. …

‘Completely Unavoidable’

TikTok’s platform is entirely visual, eliminating the wall between an employer and an applicant that regulations and laws have worked so hard to build, according to Adam Forman, a member of Epstein Becker & Green P.C. He advises employers on workplace matters, focusing on emerging issues involving technology.

“Employers will now have notice of protected characteristics that they wouldn’t have had,” he said. To avoid unwittingly stepping into a discrimination lawsuit, employers should have a third party within the organization to provide “a sanitized version” of an applicant’s credentials for the key decision-maker, Forman said.


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