New Social Media Privacy Law Has Wide-Ranging Possible Consequences

Following the lead of states like California, Illinois, and Maryland, New Jersey has become another state to pass legislation aimed at protecting employees from privacy concerns in the social media arena.  Particularly, the New Jersey bill, recently passed by its Senate, would prohibit an employer from (1) requiring a current or prospective employee to provide usernames, passwords or any other means for granting an employer access to one’s personal social networking account(s); or (2) even inquiring as to whether the current or potential employee even has any social networking accounts.

This law is important because it is designed to prevent employers from retaliating or discriminating against individuals who choose to refuse to disclose one’s personal social networking account information.  Furthermore, upon a company’s first violation, the penalty is $1000 and the second penalty is $2500.  Companies located in states with that sort of new legislation must update and revise their workplace and hiring policies and practices, in accordance with the new law to avoid penalties.