On March 21, 2013, New Jersey's state legislature passed A2878 to prohibit employers from requiring or requesting that prospective and current employees disclose their user names and passwords to their personal social media accounts. Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed the bill on May 6, 2013, proposing a series of modifications to "more properly balance" the plaintiff-friendly legislation. On August 19, 2013, the legislature agreed to the Governor's changes and passed the amended bill, which Christie signed into law on August 29, 2013.
New Jersey joins eleven other states granting similar social media protections: Maryland, Illinois, California, Michigan, Utah, New Mexico (which seemingly covers prospective employees only), Arkansas, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada. What is more, dozens of other states and the U.S. Congress are considering comparable legislation. To help employers navigate through New Jersey's new law, which takes effect on December 1, 2013, this alert discusses its coverage, prohibitions, exceptions, and remedies.