New Jersey Assembly Amends Applicant/Employee Social Networking Disclosure Bill

On June 25, 2012, the Assembly approved an amended bill (A2878) that would, among other things,  prohibit employers from requiring current or prospective employees to disclose their user names or passwords for their personal social networking sites (such as Facebook and Twitter). The bill (originally discussed in the May 2012 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority) now clarifies that the law is intended to relate only to an employee’s or applicant’s “personal account,” which it now defines as “any account, service or profile on a social networking website that is used . . . exclusively for personal communications unrelated to any business purpose of the employer.” Explicitly excluded from the definition is “any account, service, or profile created, maintained, used or accessed by a current or prospective employee for business purposes of the employer or to engage in business related communications.” It is unclear whether this “business-related” exclusion would encompass accounts on LinkedIn, a professional networking site where members post requests to be contacted for, among other things, “business deals.” The amended bill also contains new language providing that: 1) it shall not prevent an employer from complying with any other state or federal statutes, rules, regulations, case law, or rules of self-regulatory organizations; and 2) it shall not prevent an employer from implementing and enforcing a policy pertaining to the use of an employer-issued electronic communications device. The bill now awaits Senate consideration.

Note: This article was published in the July 2012 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.