Month: August 2013

Christie signs law barring employers from punishing workers who share pay info with colleagues

Gov. Christie on Thursday signed into law a bill that sponsors say will lead to less pay discrimination in the workplace in New Jersey.

The legislation prohibits employers from punishing workers who share information about job titles and pay with fellow employees.

“If we are serious about pay equity, we have to allow workers to freely discuss their job conditions,” said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck. “By allowing employees to ask their coworkers about their salaries, benefits or working conditions, we open a door for those who believe they are being treated unfairly to learn the truth and get their fair share.”

Christie, a Republican, conditionally vetoed an initial version of the bill last year, saying it was too broad in scope. Both houses of the Democratic-controlled Legislature voted earlier this summer to accept his changes.

“This law will still help employees fight against pay discrimination,” said Sen. Linda Greenstein, R-Mercer. “If the employees know they can ask each other about their salaries or benefits, they will discuss more freely these topics and discriminatory practices will be harder to hide.”

The new law goes into effect immediately.

Gov. Christie signed a bill today that will ban New Jersey companies from forcing workers to hand over user names or passwords to their social media accounts.

Gov. Christie signed a bill today that will ban New Jersey companies from forcing workers to hand over user names or passwords to their social media accounts.

Under the legislation (A2878), companies will be fined $1,000 if they request or demand access to workers’ or potential employees’ accounts on websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Workers also get the option to sue for money lost if they are not hired or lose their jobs or promotions because of an employer’s prying. Companies that violate the law a second time face a $2,500 fine. Law enforcement agencies are exempt.

“I have been reading more and more about how businesses and corporations, and schools as a matter of fact, are requiring your Facebook information,” state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), a sponsor of the bipartisan measure, said last year. “They’re not entitled to that. You’re entitled to some privacy.”

Christie conditionally vetoed the legislation in May, saying the “well-intentioned bill” was too “broad.” He sent it back to the state Legislature with recommendations that he said “more properly balance between protecting the privacy of employees and job candidates, while ensuring that employers may appropriately screen job candidates, manage their personnel, and protect their business assets and proprietary information.”

The state Assembly approved the revised measure a few weeks later and the Senate signed off on it earlier this month.

The law takes effect in four months.