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Can an employer require a prospective employee to reveal the password for her private email account?

Toms River, NJ |

My mother applied for a job at a local supermarket (Shoprite) and was asked, during the interview, for the password to her Gmail account. She was unwilling to give it to them and did not get the job.

Is this request legal?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. This has been a topic in the news a great deal lately, and I believe that the answer is No it is not proper but not illegal. Here is a link to a new story on it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/20/facebook-passwords-job-seekers_n_1366577.html

    The previous information is solely for informational purposes only. If you have further questions, please contact an attorney in your area for more specific answers. Responding to your question in no way creates an attorney/client relationship, and none of the specific guarantees of privacy exist. If you have found this information helpful, kindly check the "helpful" box.


  2. This area of the law is still being developed and there likely is no clear consensus at the present time as to whether an applicant for a potential job can sue for denial of a position for their failure to voluntarily provide a private email account.

    Based on the bills that are being debated in the NJ Legislature, it is likely that the acts of the Shoprite will be considered illegal in the near future. Here is some information about this legal issue in the news:

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently conditionally vetoed a bill that would have barred employers from asking current or prospective employees about the existence of any personal social media accounts. Governor Christie's proposed version of the bill also eliminates a private right of action for alleged violations, and includes a provision stating that employers may view or utilize information obtained in the public domain. Under the new version of the bill, employers would still be prohibited from requiring that prospective or current employees provide their log-in information to social media accounts. The New Jersey Assembly has approved the legislation with Governor Christie's edits, but the revised bill still needs to be passed by the New Jersey Senate. If the Senate approves the changes, the new law will become effective four months after being signed by Governor Christie.
    For more information go here:
    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/assembly_concurs_with_christie.html

    The answers by Fred Shahrooz Scampato, Esquire, of the Law Office of Fred Shahrooz Scampato, LLC, provided in the Avvo website are for general information purposes only. The materials are current only as of the indicated date and must not be regarded as legal advice, solicitation or advertisement. The information provided on this site does not, nor is it intended to, constitute legal advice and is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship, nor are they intended as a substitute for obtaining specific legal advice from qualified legal counsel. Transmission of information from this site is not intended to create, and receipt shall not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Any prior results that are described on our site do not guarantee a similar outcome. Online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional advice regarding the particular facts and circumstances of each matter.


  3. At this point, the company has done nothing unlawful, although that is certain to change as my colleague noted.

    A response to a question posted on Avvo is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is informational only. Allan E. Richardson, Esq. arichardson@employmentlaw-nj.com Richardson, Galella & Austermuhl 142 Emerson ST., Woodbury, NJ 08096 856-579-7045.

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