On May 10, 2012, the Assembly introduced a bill (A2878) that seeks to prohibit employers from requiring current or prospective employees to disclose their user names or passwords for social networking sites (such as Facebook or Twitter). The bill further prohibits employers from asking current or prospective employees if they have an account or profile on a social networking website, and prohibits employers from requiring prospective employees to waive or limit any protection granted under the bill as a condition of applying for or receiving an offer of employment. Under the bill, a first offense requires the imposition of a $1,000 fine (collectible by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development), with subsequent offenses carrying a $2,500 fine. The bill also prohibits retaliation or discrimination against employees who seek the protections provided for by the bill, and creates a private cause of action whereby the employee may seek injunctive relief, damages and attorneys’ fees.
The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee voted 4-0 (with one abstention) to approve the bill on the same day it was introduced, advancing the legislation to the full Assembly.