On May 20, 2013, the New Jersey Assembly passed – by a vote of 77 to 0 – a revised bill barring employers from seeking access to employees’ social media accounts.
The bill incorporates changes suggested by Governor Chris Christie, including the elimination of a private cause of action. Instead, the law will be enforced by the New Jersey Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. Employers would be subject to a maximum civil penalty of $1,000 for the first violation and $2,500 for each subsequent violation.
Under the proposed law, employers may not request or require a current or prospective employee to provide a user name, password, or any other form of access to a personal social networking account. The law applies only to purely personal accounts; the law does not apply to accounts used for business purposes or policies regarding employer-issued devices.
The revised bill now awaits passage by the state Senate, where the prior version of the bill passed with a vote of 38-0.
For more information, please read the Social Media Privacy Bill.