TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday signed into law legislation that prohibits employers from asking current or prospective employees for their social media passwords.
The bill prohibits employers from requiring people to disclose user names or passwords for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as a condition of their employment.
A companion bill signed in December bars colleges and universities from doing the same.
The sponsors of the law said it incorporates changes requested by Christie in an earlier conditional veto.
The law permits employers to ask if a current or prospective employee has a profile on a social networking website, and permits them to view information that is in the public domain.
The push for the legislation came amid reports that some businesses and schools were demanding Facebook login information from job applicants, the sponsors said.
"If we don't draw this line in the sand now, who knows how far this invasion of privacy might be taken," said Democratic Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. of Hudson County. "In an economy where employers clearly have the upper hand, we need to protect the rights of job seekers from being trampled."
Violations of the law carry civil penalities up to $1,000 for the first violation and $2,500 for each subsequent violation.
The law also bars employers from requiring a prospective employee or applicant to waive or limit any protection granted under the bill as a condition of applying for or receiving an offer of employment.