New Jersey Governor Vetoes Proposed Workplace Social Media Law

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By Eric B. Meyer

You see, employment law dorks like me use tools like these to monitor the status of pending employment-law-related bills.

And yesterday, I got a hit informing me that, on Monday, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed this proposed New Jersey bill, which would prohibit employers from requiring employees and candidates for disclosing online usernames and passwords.

Savador Rizzo at The Star-Ledger of Newark summarized Gov. Christie’s reasons for vetoing the bill here:

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Christie said that he supports safeguarding “the privacy of job candidates and employees from overly aggressive invasions by employers” but that he wants to see stronger protections for businesses. For example, the governor said aggrieved workers should go to the state labor commissioner with their complaints instead of being able to file lawsuits in state court. …

“Unfortunately, this bill paints with too broad a brush,” Christie wrote in his conditional veto today. “For example, under this bill, an employer interviewing a candidate for a marketing job would be prohibited from asking about the candidate’s use of social networking so as to gauge the candidate’s technological skills and media savvy. Such a relevant and innocuous inquiry would, under this bill, subject an employer to protracted litigation.”

You know my position on bills like these: I’m not a fan. So, it is refreshing to see a decision maker like Gov. Christie forego the rubber stamp and actually consider the practical impact of a hasty bill, which, although well intentioned, seeks to solve what is essentially a non-existent problem.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.

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