For those of you who know or follow me, you know that I am a big fan of LinkedIn. In fact, I invite you to join my LinkedIn network at http://www.linkedin.com/in/dalex2 and post a recommendation that I can share on my profile. However, if you are an employer or manager and an employee asks you to post a LinkedIn recommendation for them....beware.
I have been discussing this issue with some of the leading employment lawyers in Los Angeles and they all agree that employers and managers need to be careful when posting recommendations or testimonies about their employees. The recommendation feature of LinkedIn that allows users to write flattering online recommendations about others' work has become a popular way to shower praise on LinkedIn contacts-and to draw accolades for oneself. But employment lawyers warn that managers and employers who do this for their employees must be careful. If official performance reviews are different in tone than the LinkedIn recommendation, the LinkedIn recommendation could be used by plaintiffs' lawyers in discrimination or wrongful termination cases that put an employee's performance at issue. Over the next few years we are going to see lawyers mining these social networking sites such as LinkedIn for evidence to support their claims.
While it is not necessary to cease providing your employees with these online accolades, please make sure any LinkedIn recommendations or other online comments match up with what is included in their HR-sanctioned reviews.