New Law Prohibits N.j. Employers From Demanding “why Can’t We Be Friends?”

A State law effective December 1, 2013 prohibits an employer from requiring or requesting that an employee provide his or her username or password for, or access to any personal social networking account used by the employee exclusively for personal communications.

The law is not to be construed to prevent an employer from complying with State or federal statutes, regulations, or cases regarding such communications (apparently including New Jersey’s Anti Bullying Bill of Rights Act); from viewing, accessing, or utilizing information about an employee that can be obtained in the public domain; or from implementing or enforcing a policy pertaining to the use of an employer-issued electronic communications device or any accounts or services provided by the employer or that the employee uses for business purposes. The law also states it was not intended to prevent an employer from “conducting an investigation” if the employer has certain information regarding an employee’s conduct, for, among other things, ensuring that an employee complies with any prohibitions against work-related employee misconduct or preventing the release of confidential information.

The law applies to both current and prospective employees. The full text of the legislation is available at N.J.S.A. 34:6B-5 to -10.

Cooper Levenson is ready to assist administrators and school board members who have questions about the new law or who need help developing policies, regulations, or forms to ensure that their school districts comply with the law.