Unpleasant Memories on the Web in Employment Relations: A Ricoeurian Approach

André Habisch, Pierre Kletz, Eva Wack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cybervetting has become common practice in personnel decision-making processes of organizations. While it represents a quick and inexpensive way of obtaining additional information on employees and applicants, it gives rise to a variety of legal and ethical concerns. To limit companies’ access to personal information, a right to be forgotten has been introduced by the European jurisprudence. By discussing the notion of forgetting from the perspective of French hermeneutic philosopher Paul Ricoeur, the present article demonstrates that both, companies and employees, would be harmed if access to online information on applicants and current employees would be denied. Consistent with a Humanistic Management approach that promotes human dignity and flourishing in the workplace, this article proposes guidance for the responsible handling of unpleasant online memories in personnel decision-making processes, thereby following Ricoeur’s notion of forgetting as “kept in reserve”. Enabling applicants and employees to take a qualified stand on their past is more beneficial to both sides than a right to be forgotten that is questionable in several respects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-368
Number of pages22
JournalHumanistic Management Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • Cybervetting
  • Employment relations
  • Forgetting on the web
  • Humanistic management
  • Paul Ricoeur
  • Privacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


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