On Thursday, August 29, 2013, New Jersey’s Governor Christopher Christie signed bill A-2878 into law. This law places New Jersey in line with the growing trend of states restricting employers’ ability to require job candidates to provide information (i.e., usernames and passwords) about their personal social media accounts, such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
The final version of A-2878 is substantially more employer-friendly than the one conditionally vetoed by Governor Christie earlier this year. That version of the bill would have permitted employees or prospective employees to sue an employer who asked about whether the individual even had a personal social media account. Governor Christie believed that such restrictions would have placed too onerous of a burden on employers by not allowing them to conduct due diligence on potential employees and to protect their companies without exposing them to a lawsuit. Another pro-employer change to the bill is that it permits employers to investigate employees’ social media accounts when they are made aware of potential illegal activities and wrongful disclosures of a company’s proprietary orconfidentialinformation.
Despite the employer-friendly modifications, the revised bill continues to protect an individual’s right to privacy by greatly restricting employers’ ability to access employees’ specific social media account information without cause. The law will officially take effect in four months, just prior to the start of 2014.
As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.