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I work as a freelancer, so being contacted by recruiters is a regular occurrence. Recently I responded to a request from a recruiter of a UK-based, "award-winning" recruitment company. We talked on the phone, and the recruiter proposed to submit my profile to a project as well as proactively submit it to companies. I responded by email, rejecting both proposals since I did not find them convincing.

It has now come to my attention that the recruiter is nonetheless sending my profile, with the following claim:

as an example of a freelancer that I am currently working with, I have attached the (anonymised) profile of an active candidate.

The profile is not anonymised though as it starts with my name. The PDF has been edited to contain the recruitment company's logo. It contains my CV, project references and skills. My profile is available for download from my website. However, I would claim that this is copyrighted material and personal information that is not free for use without permission. In no way have I ever agreed to being represented by this recruitment agency. In fact, I have explicitly rejected it in written form.

  • I find the recruiter's behavior unethical and potentially damaging to my reputation and business. It is staggering what some recruiters are trying to get away with. I don't intend to let them. What are my options with respect to a response?
  • What damage could result from this?
  • In what ways could the actions of the recruiter be against the law? Areas I can imagine are data protection laws, copyright laws, laws protecting business and personal reputation...
  • Are there precedent cases for this kind of "false representation"? Is it common?
  • Can you see a rationale behind the recruiter's behavior?
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    Is there any basis for the statement that you are an "active candidate" or that the recruiter is "currently working with" you? In other words, have you worked with this recruiter before, or has the recruiter put you forward for any other work with your consent? If so, you probably have fewer options, because the sentence you quote does not offer you as a candidate; it only presents your profile as an "example." – phoog Jun 27 '18 at 16:39
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    No basis at all. I have never agreed to more than a phone call with this recruiter. – clstaudt Jun 27 '18 at 19:03
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One of the most obvious form of potential damage occurs where

  1. your profile is forwarded to a company.
  2. the recruiter has a MSA with the company.
  3. the recruiter has no active roles that the contract specifies they are filling.
  4. the company has other open roles.
  5. you, the candidate, apply for one of those roles.
  6. the recruiter seeks to use their MSA (master service agreement) to leverage rights to a placement commission (if you accept an offer).
  7. the company ceases your interview because your candidacy would cost them too much.

The possibility of these damages will vary state-to-state. Generally, these damages are so hard to establish that no one would try to litigate them without a valuable outcome.

The biggest risk is an intangible potential-damage to your tenture with your active employer, if your resume was disclosed against your agreement and to a party that has contact with your boss, and you were fired or marginalized.

note: IANAL, and have worked in and around the HR industry. This scenario is based on situations I have seen.

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    I think you may be overlooking "freelancer" - There is no "resume" or "boss" based upon the question. It's a recruiter using another business to promote their own business without authorization. It's more akin to a "talent agency" stating they can provide actors such as Meryl Streep or Brad Pitt when at best all they've done is had a conversation with Streep and Pitt, nothing more. – Scott Jun 27 '18 at 17:54
  • Never been compared to Brad Pitt before, but yes, the analogy is not wrong. – clstaudt Jun 27 '18 at 20:01
  • @New Alexandria Can you spell out "MSA" please? I'm not familiar with the term. – clstaudt Jun 27 '18 at 20:08
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The use of your CV is probably not a copyright violation as it was provided freely with no non-disclosure agreement, but using it to market the firm without your consent in a manner that contains a false statement is probably a violation of your "right of publicity" for which the damages would be minimal but non-zero.

You might also be able to obtain an injunction barring the firm from falsely using your name in marketing under statutory deceptive trade practices rules or at common law. This would be to prevent jobs lost to people who don't want to pay a recruiting fee and think that you are covered by one.

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