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‘Facebook Bill' Up for Senate Vote

10.26.12

Chris Mills, a partner in the New Jersey office, was quoted in various media outlets in New Jersey, including The Star-Ledger, The Recorder, NJBiz.com, and WGHT Radio, about a new bill that would prevent New Jersey employers from requiring employees or job candidates to provide their passwords to social media sites. If the bill is voted into law, New Jersey would become the third state, after Maryland and Illinois, to enact such a law. Opponents of the bill argue that the issue could be used as a pretext for disgruntled current or former employees to file groundless lawsuits against businesses. Chris said that, although he advises clients against asking about Facebook information, he thinks the proposed law is overkill. "You'd like to think that no one would be against prohibiting people from asking for Facebook passwords because that's not a good personnel practice." He noted that information that could be on Facebook, such as an employee's sexual orientation, would be inappropriate for an employer to inquire about. "We just think it's a bad idea to learn too much about an applicant during the hiring process, which would include things that you can't ask and wouldn't know." Chris added that the proposed legislation is prohibiting something that most employers are not doing anyway. "I think this is the proverbial killing the flea with an elephant gun."

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