In the United States, it is entirely legal for potential employers to Google you before they hire you. Go ahead and search your name, see what comes up: would you hire yourself? Such a search may have cost one lawyer his job. Not one week after he was hired to Cleary Gottlieb, a summer associate, John David Arganbright, was removed from the premises. Though the firm didn’t confirm this, it appears the reason was that a search of his name brings up his information on such lists as SORArchives.com and Busted Offenders – sites that gather public information about convicts and then remove them if paid a fee. Arganbright’s offense of 2007 was “involuntary deviate sexual intercourse,” and considering a few charges that were dropped, the story seems to be that when he was 18-years-old in highschool he had consensual sex with a minor, or statutory rape.
That information is associated with his name and comes up readily and immediately when searching for his information. In this case, it cost him a job, but no doubt it could cost him on future jobs, not to mention romantic relationships, and other things.
For instance, after serving his sentence, the young man was turned down to Northwestern University, who rescinded their offer to him; he went to La Salle college instead. His offense, which seems minor enough in itself and which was committed in his teens, is made to haunt him, via the ubiquity and immediacy of the internet, for the rest of his life. Above the Law attempted to reach him for comment but instead was discouraged entirely from writing the story, which they nevertheless did. They suggested having his side of the story come up higher in a search might help his situation, and indeed this seems the only way to fight back when the internet takes over your name.