Privacy Wins: New Jersey Bosses Can’t Ask For Social Media Account Passwords

No more snooping into your private affairs, but what's public is still up for scrutiny

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Recruiters and employers have used social media to vet employees, and many workers have had to deal with the potential fallout of access and issues of privacy in the name of landing —or keeping—a gig.

In many cases, prospective employers have requested usernames and passwords to get information, posing even more of an issue for workers who may not want their boss privy to their messages, updates and hidden photos.

Well, now, New Jersey workers can look forward to no more snooping, as, according to reports, the state’s new law barring employers from asking for social media account passwords has finally gone into effect.

NJBiz.com reports that New Jersey employers can’t ask for private passwords— during interviews or employment— as the state became the 12th in the U.S. to implement a law regulating social media privacy in the workplace. Other states include California, Delaware, Illinois and Maryland.

The law was signed by Gov. Chris Christie in August and includes accounts for all popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Employers who request information could face a fine of more than $2,500, depending on the frequency of violation.

Within the legislation however, employers have the right to conduct an investigation if a worker is transferring proprietary or confidential information on his or her personal social media account, Stefanie Riehl, an assistant vice president with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, told NJBiz.com.

Employers will also still be allowed to view all publicly displayed information and photos, and they can conduct investigations into an employee’s use of social media on their personal account if they receive information about workplace misconduct or the unauthorized transfer of proprietary information related to the company.

Despite this new law, experts advice professionals, especially those in management or leadership positions to be careful what they post on their social media profiles.

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