New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had a busy summer, signing into law two important employment bills, and vetoing a third. The state’s new social media privacy law affords new protections to employees and applicants concerning their social media accounts, A second enacted bill prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who take certain steps in furtherance of a wage discrimination claim. Finally, Governor Christie vetoed a third bill which, if passed, would have imposed severe criminal and financial penalties on certain trucking or parcel delivery employers that misclassified their employees as independent contractors. You can read more about each of these laws and about recent cases issued by New Jersey courts in the latest issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.

Social Media Privacy Law

On August 29, 2013, a social media privacy bill (A2878) was enacted (effective December 1, 2013). The new law bars employers from requiring or requesting that any current or prospective employee (1) disclose his or her username or password to a personal social media account or (2) provide the employer access to such media account. It also prevents employers from requiring workers to waive the rights or protections of the bill as a condition of applying for or receiving an offer of employment, and prohibits retaliation.

The law applies to social media accounts used exclusively for personal communications unrelated to any business purposes of the employer. It is thus likely that a social media account that an applicant or employee uses for both personal and business-related purposes would fall outside the protections of the bill.

Wage Discrimination Disclosure Law

On August 29, 2013, Governor Christie signed a bill (A2648) that prohibits retaliation or discrimination against any employee who requests or discloses certain information for the purpose of investigating the possibility of pay or compensation discrimination. The new law amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and is effective immediately.

Bill to Punish Misclassification of Trucking Business Employees Vetoed

On September 9, 2013, Governor Christie vetoed a bill (A1578), which would have imposed serious criminal and civil penalties on drayage trucking or parcel delivery industry employers that misclassified their employees. If passed, the bill would have had a dramatic impact on trucking industry employers by establishing a heightened standard to prove independent contractor status, and, according to Governor Christie, would have made New Jersey unfriendly to the trucking industry.