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.