by David K. Reid
Employers need to be ready for New Jersey’s new social media privacy law, which takes effect December 1. The law prohibits employers from requiring applicants and employees to disclose their user names and passwords for personal social media accounts or otherwise provide access to their accounts.
The law doesn’t apply to an employee’s social media account that is used for business purposes. The new law allows employers to access employees’ or applicants’ social media pages that are shared publicly. Also, after receiving specific information, employers may investigate a violation of law, employee misconduct, or the unauthorized transfer of proprietary, confidential, or financial information via an employee’s personal social media account.
Employers that violate the law are subject to fines of $1,000 for a first violation and $2,500 for repeat violations. The law prohibits employers from retaliating against anyone who refuses to provide passwords, reports violations, or participates in investigations into violations of the law.
Arkansas, California, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington have similar laws.
For further information on the new law, see the November issue of New Jersey Employment Law Letter.