So no serious interviewer is looking at FB anyway - it opens up too many potential issues.
It's very easy to not-hire someone anyway; you can say "not a cultural fit" which means they wouldn't get on with the team. But it would be suspicious if that correlated well with a readily observable characteristic.
Illegal discriminatory hiring practices are very specific, so suspicious or not, it doesn't matter. There's no legal grounds for someone to sue a company because they used Facebook to determine that they don't like "Fight Club" or that they eat a lot of Burger King and were thusly not hired.
Only the information provided by the candidate and his/her criminal and credit records (if applicable - mostly not) can be searched without explicit permission.
Proving foul play is of course nearly impossible.
* Internet search results as a basis of decision on recruiting is illegal if there is no permission from the candidate
* Facebook profile picture is "unnecessary personal information in relation to employment" no matter what the job might be
* You are not allowed to use unnecessary personal information like the Facebook profile picture even if the candidate gives a permission
This legislation is based on a belief that an employee should know what kind of personal information about him/her is being gathered.
Employer is required to notify employee/candidate about the intent on acquiring personal information from external source. Second notification is needed before using the sourced data as a basis of decision making on the candidate.
Personal Data Act (523/1999):
The Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman:
On what legal principle do you ban the use of a single website for employment screening, yet essentially allow everything else.
I don’t have any fundamental objections to that (something like ‘employers should have the right to screen applicants however they want’), I just think it’s stupid and won’t work. It’s unenforceable and useless.
That’s the article TechCrunch links to: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,713240,00... – this is only a small part of a much larger packet of laws aimed at improving employee privacy. The ban on videotaping of employees is at the moment making headlines in Germany and this is actually the first time I heard about this.
Funnily enough you'll find most of the above on Facebook. Of course in practice all such laws are largely unenforceable, and rely on recruiters being law-abiding citizens
Also, while I sympathize with the goals, I sympathize with the plight of the small business owner more. Yet another law == yet another rabbit hole to stumble into. In effect, more costs for hiring lawyers.