Social Media Passwords Off-Limits to N.J. Employers During Interview and After Hire

December 2, 2013 – In The News
NJ Biz

Scott Vernick was quoted in the NJ Biz article, "Social Media Passwords Off-Limits to N.J. Employers During Interview and After Hire." Full text can be found in the December 2, 2013, issue, but a synopsis is noted below.

New Jersey employers can no longer ask for private passwords during interviews or employment, as the state became the 12th in the nation to implement a law regulating social media privacy in the workplace.

The fact that the bill puts the responsibility on companies could prove troublesome, according to noted privacy attorney Scott Vernick.

The law came as a reaction to people who were either not getting hired or were losing their jobs due to content on private social media accounts, noted Vernick. While he says the rationale behind the law “makes perfect sense” from an employee’s standpoint, Vernick notes that it does “put the burden on the employer now to have new policies in place.”

“(The law) tries to define what the rules of the road are,” he said. “We got into this predicament because the lines between personal and business are probably more blurred today than they ever (were).”

Employers will still be able to view anything that is publicly displayed and can conduct investigations into employees’ social media use if they receive specific information about workplace misconduct or the unauthorized transfer of company information.

But what constitutes specific information will most certainly be a debatable topic moving forward, Vernick said.

"Every employer in New Jersey should take a look at those policies, dust them off and make sure that they comply," he said.