New Jersey may become the fourth state, following Maryland, Illinois and California, to place limits on employers’ ability to access the social media accounts of employees and applicants, following yesterday’s 38-0 vote in the State’s Senate. S1915 makes some changes to an Assembly bill that also was overwhelmingly approved. 

The Senate version would provide for a private right of action, in addition to civil penalties starting at $1,000 per violation. Acts by an employer that could lead to a violation include requiring or requesting that an employee or applicant disclose whether he or she has a personal social media account, or that he or she provide access to such account. Assuming the Assembly approves these changes, the measure will head to Governor Chris Christie for signature.   

If approved, the law would take effect on the first day of the fourth month following enactment. The Senate also approved a similar measure affecting college students.