On Thursday NJ Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill passed by the legislature that would have forbidden employers from asking their employees as well as applicants about the existence of their social media accounts as well as their passwords. Christie said that he supports safeguarding “the privacy of job candidates and employees from overly aggressive invasions by employers”, however he also wants to see employers being protected. Christie stated that if some of the more restrictive measures were to be excluded, that he would be willing to sign the bill.
“Unfortunately, this bill paints with too broad a brush,” Christie wrote in his conditional veto today. “For example, under this bill, an employer interviewing a candidate for a marketing job would be prohibited from asking about the candidate’s use of social networking so as to gauge the candidate’s technological skills and media savvy. Such a relevant and innocuous inquiry would, under this bill, subject an employer to protracted litigation.”
Had the law passed, New Jersey would have been just the eighth state to prevent businesses from snooping into their current or prospective employees’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The original bill had a 75-2 vote, so most likely the legislature could easily override the governor’s veto if it wants to, however in the spirit of cooperation, they may take his requests into consideration, while still keeping the spirit of the bill.