Firm-Wide blog

LinkedIn Plagued by Chain of Class Action Lawsuits

By Burg Simpson
March 2, 2015
2 min read

For over a decade, LinkedIn has been helping applicants and employers find each other. Essentially a social networking platform focused on the job market, LinkedIn lets individuals post their resumes and CVs online for all to view, in addition to helping people network in the virtual world. While the popular site has played an important role in shaping the job market, its business practices continue to be targeted in class action lawsuits.

Is LinkedIn using data without permission?

In one of the most recent class action lawsuits filed against LinkedIn, the company has been accused of using its members’ likenesses and names without permission to advertise a content feature it offers to upload contacts to the website. In this suit, users allege that LinkedIn violates the California common law right of publicity in addition to running afoul of the state’s unfair competition law. At the core of the suit’s accusations are claims that LinkedIn grows its business by misappropriating member’s identities.

Lawsuits mount

Unfortunately for LinkedIn, this is hardly the first class action suit they have faced in recent times. Other class actions include a suit alleging that LinkedIn accesses users’ third-party email accounts such as Gmail and Yahoo! Mail without the consent of its users, to harvest other email addresses and send multiple messages that appear to be on behalf of the user soliciting non-members to join LinkedIn. According to the plaintiffs in this class action, LinkedIn’s actions violate federal and state law.

Troubling allegations

In yet another class action, LinkedIn has been accused of preventing members from getting jobs. Allegations in this suit have been levied by job seekers that claim potential employers actually retracted job offers after based on data culled from other LinkedIn users that were familiar with the job seekers in question. Plaintiffs argue that LinkedIn’s business model violates regulations that protect consumers from being denied jobs, rentals, or mortgages due to mistakes in their records.

Since class action suits permit representative parties to pursue the rights of other similarly situated individuals, this procedural approach may be the ideal way for LinkedIn’s millions of members to address wrongs allegedly perpetrated by the networking giant.

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