Magazine article Workforce

E-Mail Bills May Unintentionally Hurt Companies Trying to Hire Workers

Magazine article Workforce

E-Mail Bills May Unintentionally Hurt Companies Trying to Hire Workers

Article excerpt

E-mail Bills May Unintentionally Hurt Companies Trying to Hire Workers

ON MAY 12, THE U.S. SENATE ADOPTED S.1618 BY A VOTE OF 99-0. Bill S.1618 amends the Communications Act of 1934 to improve the protection of consumers against "slamming"-the practice of telecommunications companies switching residential and business customers' long-distance service without customer authorization.

Although a substantial portion of S.1618 deals with "slamming," some sections of the bill relate to the use of e-mail for commercial purposes. Other "anti-spamming" bills are also pending, including HR3888, HR2368, HR1748, S.875 and S.771. Some HR professionals are worried that these bills, meant to restrict unfair telephone and e-mail practices, may also unwittingly restrict legitimate hiring practices. For example, it may be illegal to contact potential employees via e-mail.

"I believe S.1618 may be unintentionally interpreted to prevent employers from contacting prospective job candidates using email, thus depriving workers of job opportunity notification," says Stephen M. Reuning, president of Diedre Moire Corp. in Robbinsville, New Jersey. "I understand and support the intent of this legislation to prevent undesired "junk" mail, but the bills don't acknowledge the legitimate use of e-mail to contact potential job candidates."

Reuning explains that employers currently use sources to locate potential employees such as state employment services, resumes circulated by other employers and employees, database services, and internal referrals. …

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