Social Media Law Now in Effect For New Jersey Employers

December 12, 2013
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New Jersey’s new social media privacy law took effect on December 1, 2013.

It prevents employers from requiring a prospective employee to provide their username, password, or other information needed to access social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

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New Jersey is the 12th state in the country to enact restrictions on the use of social networking sites by employers. The issue gained national attention last year after reports surfaced that some companies were requiring applicants and employees to turn over their login credentials as a condition of employment.

A first-time violation of the New Jersey law will result in a fine of $1,000, with fines increasing to $2,500 for each additional offense. The statute also bans employers from retaliating against individuals who refuse to provide passwords, report violations of the law, or take part in investigations.

In good news for employers, the final version of the New Jersey social media law allows employers to inquire into an employee’s social media activities after receiving specific information about work-related misconduct, including the transfer of proprietary information to an employee’s personal account. Employers are also not prohibited from accessing an employee’s or applicant’s social media pages to the extent that they are publicly available.

To avoid liability, New Jersey employers should revise their policies and procedures to reflect the new law and make sure that all staff members who participate in the hiring process understand how they can and cannot use these sites to evaluate candidates.

If you have any questions about the new social network program requirements for New Jersey employers or would like to discuss the compliance concerns involved with the new employment law, please contact me, Sean Dias, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work. 

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