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New Jersey employers can face Facebook wrongful termination suits

For New Jersey employers who think they can ask for employees' Facebook passwords, they need to think again. Unless they want to face possible wrongful termination lawsuits, they are being told to take a step back. According to a new state law, workplaces in New Jersey can no longer demand that personnel share information that would allow employers to get into their personal Facebook accounts. If a worker is fired for not handing over a password, a wrongful termination claim could be made.

The new law is meant to protect the privacy of anyone who is working, or who is trying to find a job. Until this point, a New Jersey employer could feel free to require that workers or applicants for jobs hand over their passwords. Ostensibly, this was meant to check on the person's veracity, tenor, attitude, etc. Yet it was seen as incredibly invasive to some.

Thus, this new law came into being. If an employer tries to threaten or coerce a worker, that worker has the ability to seek out legal recourse. The law also protects personal website log-in information. One caveat, however -- anything that is available on public Facebook pages can still be used by employers to determine employment statuses of workers or would-be workers. Consequently, it's critical for all social media users to evaluate carefully what they post.

This doesn't necessarily mean that wrongful termination lawsuits will begin to pop up left and right. However, it's important for any job seekers or staff members to know that they are now protected. If that protection is breached by the employer, and an employee loses a job as a direct result, the employee has the right to seek out legal recourse immediately.

Source: northjersey.com, NJ employers can't demand your Facebook password, under new law, Kathleen Lynn Staff, Dec. 2, 2013

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