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September 3, 2013

Re:      Governor Signs Various Bills
I.          Review of local fire mutual aid plans
II.        Review of portable fire extinguisher in one and two-family residences
III.       Concerns disclosure of certain employment information
IV.       Prohibits employers for requesting user name, passwords and other means of accessing accounts or service through electronic communication

Dear Mayor,

On August 29 Governor Christie signed the following bills of interest to municipalities:

I.          Review of local fire mutual aid plans

A-2593 requires the Division of Fire Safety Director to undertake a review of the laws, rules, and regulations concerning the preparation and adoption of local fire mutual aid plans as well as the coordination and deployment of fire service resources during an emergency where mutual aid is needed.  The Director will have six months to submit to the Governor findings and recommendations on whether revisions to the existing mutual aid procedures are necessary, including whether a statutorily delineated chain of command is appropriate and necessary.  The League had opposed an earlier version of this bill and supported the Governor’s Conditional Veto. The law took effect on August 29, 2013.

II.        Review of portable fire extinguisher in one and two-family residences

A-2596 requires DCA Commissioner Constable to review New Jersey’s requirements for portable fire extinguishers in residences and their accompanying fines.  Specifically, the Commissioner must examine the impact of the requiring portable fire extinguishers in residences as they relate to public safety.  The Commissioner will have six months to submit to the Governor findings and recommendations. The law took effect on August 29, 2013.

III.       Concerns disclosure of certain employment information

A-2648 makes it an unlawful employment practice for any employer to take reprisals against any employee for requesting from any other employee or former employee information regarding the job title, occupational category, rate of compensation, including benefits, gender, race, ethnicity, military status or national origin of any current or former employee.  This is regardless of whether the request was responded to, if the purpose of the request for the information was to assist in investigating the possibility of the occurrence of, or in taking of legal action regarding, potential discriminatory treatment is concerning pay, compensation, bonuses, other compensation, or benefits.  However, this law shall not be construed to require an employee to disclose such information about the employee themselves to any other employee or former employee of the employer or to any authorized representative of the other employee or former employee.  This law took effect August 29, 2013.

IV.       Prohibits employers for requesting user name, passwords and other means of accessing accounts or service through electronic communication

A-2878 prohibits any employer, except local law enforcement agency, from requiring or requesting a current or prospective employee to provide or disclosure any user name or password or access to a personal account through an electronic communications.  In addition, no employer can require an individual to waive or limit any protection granted under this law as a condition of applying for or receiving an offer of employment.  Any such agreement is void and unenforceable.  However, this law does not prevent an employer from viewing, accessing or utilizing information about a current or prospective employee that can be obtained in the public domain.

The law defines “personal account” as account, service or profile on a social networking website that is used by a current or prospective employee exclusively for personal communications unrelated to any business purposes of the employer.  However, personal account does not  include any account, service or profile created, maintained, used or accessed by a current or prospective employee for business purposes of the employer or to engage in business related communications.

Furthermore, no employer can retaliate or discriminate against an individual because the individual has refused to provide or disclose any user name or password, provide access to a personal account or testify, assist or participate in any investigation, proceeding or action concerning a violation of this law.

Any alleged violation of this law shall be reported to the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.  Any employer who violates this act shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for the first violation and $2,500 for each subsequent violation. 

However, this law does not prevent an employer from complying with the any State or federal statutes, regulations, case law or rules of self-regulatory organizations.  In addition, an employer is not prevented from implementing and enforcing a policy pertaining to the use of an employer issued electronic communication device or any accounts or services provided by the employer or that the employee uses for business purposes.

Also, the law does not prevent an employer from conducting an investigation to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulatory requirements or prohibitions against work-related employee misconduct based on the receipt of specific information about activity on a personal account by an employee.  As well if an employee’s actions based on the receipt of specific information about the unauthorized transfer of an employer’s proprietary information, confidential information or financial data to a personal account by an employee.

This law will take effect December 1, 2013. 

If you have any questions or need additional information please do not hesitate to contact Jon Moran at jmoran@njslom.org, Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.org or Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.org.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

 

 

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