News Article

NJ Senate Passes Social Media Bill

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. October 25, 2012

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New Jersey State Senate (photo by Phil Gregory)

The New Jersey Senate has given final legislative approval to a measure that prevents employers from asking job applicants and employees for their social media passwords.

The bipartisan bill was passed without opposition.

Republican Senator Kevin O’Toole says it’s not appropriate for employers to seek access to workers’ social media sites.

 “Someone’s private Facebook account is their privacy, no different than their own journal or their own notes that they have in their home. So we’re trying to draw a line of what’s appropriate for an interview or keeping one’s job.”

The bill provides for fines up to 25-hundred-dollars for violators and allows employees and job seekers to sue for injunctions or damages.

Stefanie Riehl with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association is concerned about the provision allowing those lawsuits.

“Even if a lawsuit against an employer is without merit, the employer is still going to have to spend a lot of time and money defending against it.  By some estimates even if a case goes to summary judgment, the employer is going to have top spend tens of thousands of dollars.”

There’s no indication whether Governor Chris Christie will sign the bill into law.

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