New Jersey has joined California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, and Utah in prohibiting employers from seeking both "employee" and "job applicant" passwords to social media accounts or services. Specifically, New Jersey prohibits an employer from requesting or requiring, as a condition of employment, that a current or prospective employee "provide or disclose any user name or password, or in any way provide the employer access to," any personal social networking account, service or profile. The italicized language appears to prohibit New Jersey employers not only from "shoulder surfing," i.e., reviewing social media content by observing the individual's access without requesting login credentials, but also from coercing employees. Exceptions include a carve-out for investigations, including investigations into social networking done on company time and the misuse of company issued electronic devices, and the ability of the employer to evaluate an applicant's technological skills or media savvy.
John J. Sarno
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