Job seekers warned about providing sensitive information

4:16 PM, Mar 3, 2011   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Job seekers are told to be wary of what information they give on applications.  Employment experts say some companies ask for information that "walks the line" when it comes to privacy and age discrimination.

"This is a whole new wrinkle," said Kathy Masera, president of the California Job Journal. "When you end up having to fill out information that can be used against you, you open the door to fall victim to age discrimination.  An even bigger issue, to me, is that they're asking for Social Security numbers."

Some of the nation's largest employers ask applicants to apply online and give potentially sensitive information.

Home Depot's site requires a job seeker to sign up for an account before browsing for jobs.  The site asks the user to submit his or her Social Security number to create an account.

Target's site allows a user to browse jobs without an account, but to apply for a position, the user must submit his or her full name, month and day of birth, the last four digits of the applicant's Social Security number and mother's maiden name.

"That's just fraught with all kinds of potential identity theft," said Masera. "Many of these companies have had their systems breached - particularly in a retail environment where they're selling stuff online and they're prone to more hackers."

Representatives from Target and Home Depot told the Huffington Post an applicant's age is only used for the purpose of background checks after the person has been hired.

Many major companies do adhere closely with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations.

According to EEOC, it's up to the applicant to decide whether they want to give what's being asked. Federal law only requires proof of citizenship.

Raley's representative John Seagle said, "Raley's accepts job applications online as well as mailed to our main office.  We request their proof of citizenship as required by law and their current contact information."

Natalie Sentz,


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