NEW JERSEY BECOMES THE THIRTEENTH STATE TO PASS LAW PROTECTING SOCIAL NETWORKING ACCOUNTS OF EMPLOYEES

On August 29, 2013, Governor Chris Christie signed New Jersey Assembly Bill No. 2878 into law. This law, effective December 1, 2013, prohibits your company from requiring or requesting you as an employee or an applicant to provide your user name or password for your personal social networking accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. In order for an employee to have this protection, the social networking account must be used only for personal communications unrelated to the business purpose of the company. Thus, although personal social media accounts are safeguarded under this Act, employers may continue to implement policies pertaining to the use of employer-issued electronic devices and require login information for social networking accounts that are used for business purposes.

The law also contains an anti-retaliation provision which prohibits an employer from retaliating or discriminating against an employee because he or she has (1) refused to provide or disclose any user name or password to a social media account, (2) filed a complaint of an alleged violation of this Act, (3) testified, assisted, or participated in any investigation, proceeding or action concerning a violation of this Act, or (4) otherwise opposed a violation of this Act. If the company violates this new law, it may have to pay damages and attorney’s fees to the employee or job applicant.

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