Why Demanding Facebook Passwords From Employers, Applicants Is Now Illegal In New Jersey

By David Cohen 

WelcomeToNewJersey650Add New Jersey to the list of states where employers demanding passwords to Facebook and other online services from employees or applicants is now illegal, as a law took effect Sunday in the Garden State, The Record reported.

According to The Record, the new law does not cover social media accounts used for business purposes, and employers can still access all information that has been made public, as well as investigate harmful actions on social media sites, such as sharing confidential company information or harassment.

The first violation will result in a $1,000 fine, rising to $2,500 for further violations, The Record reported, adding that the bill was signed by Gov. Chris Christie Aug. 29.

Employers Association of New Jersey Head John Sarno told The Record:

The employer can’t coerce or require an employee to give up a password for a privacy-protected personal website.

Electronic Privacy Information Center Executive Director Marc Rotenberg added:

It prevents employers from getting access to employees’ personal information on Facebook. It’s an effort to keep separate a person’s private life online from their life in the workplace, and that how it should be.

And New Jersey Business and Industry Association Vice President Stefanie Riehl told The Record:

I’m not aware of this being a widespread problem in New Jersey, but I think the (law’s] sponsors’ interest was to make sure it was not going to become a pervasive problem.

Readers: Does your state have a similar law on its books?

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