- NJ ‘Facebook Bill’ Would Ban Requiring Social Media Access
- October 2, 2012 | Author: Michael D. Homans
- Law Firm: Flaster/Greenberg P.C. - Cherry Hill Office
New Jersey’s Senate Labor Committee last week approved a “Facebook bill” that would bar employers from requiring an individual to “friend” someone in the company, or to otherwise mandate that workers or applicants disclose their social media identities or passwords.
A similar version of the legislation already has passed the Assembly in a 76-1 vote. The proposal tracks similar laws already approved in Maryland and Illinois, and pending in California and other states.
Few employers require applicants or employees to disclose social media passwords as a routine course of business. More commonly, however, these laws can be an issue when an employer is investigating allegations of misconduct by an employee relating to social media postings, such as a claim by an employee of online harassment or defamation by a coworker. In such cases, employers often ask the complaining employee or witness to search and print out any offensive postings that support their claims. It is not clear whether the new legislation, if approved, would be violated by such an action, but one can be certain that employees and their lawyers will aggressively push the issue, and therefore employers should proceed with caution.