Labor Committee releases bill preventing employees from being required to provide passwords

TRENTON – The Senate Labor Committee released bill S1898, which prohibits the requirement to provide information for access to accounts on social networking websites to an employer.

Three business groups requested that a part of the bill that enables employees to sue their employers regarding this subject be removed.

Stephanie Riehl of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) said this would amount to giving employees a “new right” to sue employers. That “could have some unintended consequences,” leading to thousands of dollars of legal costs, even if the employers are not at fault.

“The employer is still going to have pay a lot of time and money.”

She said the association encourages its members to not go on “online fishing expeditions.”

Michael Egenton of the state Chamber of Commerce and Marcus Rayner of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance also opposed the cause of action lawsuit portion in the bill.

Riehl added that the financial penalties included in the bill would serve as a sufficient deterrent.

Sen. Anthony Bucco, (R-25), of Boonton, agreed with the business groups, adding that “we don’t want to put up another roadblock.”

However, Claudia Reis of the National Employment Lawyers Association supported the bill, saying employers should not be given “unfettered access to intimate details.”

“Our employees are forced to choose between privacy and employment, between privacy and income.” She said it’s akin to gaining access to a person’s journals, love letters, photo albums and phone conversations.

She added that a person’s social media accounts are meant to be seen by a “select group of people.”

“They (employers) should not be given carte blanche.”

Labor Committee releases bill preventing employees from being required to provide passwords