Back in December we discussed some bills that were budding in the New Jersey legislature to address employers' inquiries into the Facebook accounts of their employees and job applicants. New Jersey's lawmakers have now passed an employment bill that would restrict employers' access to these Facebook accounts and it has been sent to Gov. Chris Christie's desk.
If he signs the bill into law, the employment law will prevent employers from requiring applicants to provide their personal login information for social media websites as a condition of employment.
The bill came about after many people in New Jersey reported that businesses and colleges were asking applicants for their Facebook login information. This bill not only bars employers from doing such, but it also prohibits employers from even asking employees or prospective employees whether they have Facebook profiles or other social networking accounts.
Employers who would violate this law would be fined up to $2500. Employees and prospective employees would also be able to sue employers who ask for their social networking information.
The bill would not prevent employers from going online and looking up the social media profiles of job applicants and employees if these profiles are open to public view.
It is not yet known whether the governor will sign this bill, but it did pass in the Legislature with little opposition. In December, Christie signed a bill that prohibited colleges from requiring students and those applying for admission to turn over their login information.
This is a new area of employment law, and whether this passes or not, employees who are asked to turn over their social media passwords may be wise to seek legal counsel.
Source: NJ.com, "Bill to ban companies from asking about workers' Facebook accounts is headed to governor," Matt Friedman, March 21, 2013