An increasing number of states have passed laws barring employers from requiring prospective or current employees to provide their social media usernames and passwords as a condition of employment. Proposed legislation that had been pending in New Jersey attempted to take the stakes one step higher by providing individuals with a private cause of action against a business in the event of a breach.
Earlier this week Governor Christie conditionally vetoed this legislation, objecting in particular to the portion of the bill providing individuals with a private cause of action. Instead, under the modified version that the Governor has endorsed, the Department of Labor would be responsible for enforcement, and civil penalties would be limited to $1,000 for the first violation and $2,500 for each additional violation. The Governor also objected to the provision that would bar employers even from asking employees if they have a social media account at all.