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Employment Law Notebook

New Jersey Poised To Pass Facebook Law

Yesterday, the New Jersey Legislature approved a bill commonly referred to as the Facebook bill, which will govern what employers in New Jersey can and cannot do regarding employees’ communications on their personal social media accounts.  It is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Like several laws that have been enacted recently in other states, this bill prohibits employers from requiring current or prospective employees to disclose the user name or password to their own or any other employee’s personal social networking account.  It also prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees because they refuse to disclose this information. 

What distinguishes this bill from others, however, is the protection for employers. It enables employers to investigate employee misconduct such as harassment, and the unauthorized disclosure of their confidential information, if they receive information that activity or content on an employee’s personal social networking account demonstrates that misconduct.  The new bill also expressly permits employers to view and use information about current or prospective employees that can be obtained in the public domain on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. 

 The version of the bill that passed was amended at the request of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to address concerns that employers raised about protecting their proprietary information and investigating employee misconduct.  Accordingly, Governor Christie is expected to sign this bill into law.