Panel Rejects Bill Dealing with Employee Privacy

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — A House committee has rejected a measure aimed at protecting the social media privacy of employees and job applicants.

Senate Bill 195 would have prohibited an employer from requesting usernames and passwords.

The measure had overwhelmingly cleared the Senate.

State Sen. Anders Blewett of Great Falls said it would protect employees’ personal lives from unwarranted intrusion. The Democrat says employees already have access to plenty of public information on their employees or applicants.

In 2009, the city of Bozeman dropped a policy of requesting such social-media information after public outcry over the issue.

But opponents argued the measure limits an employers’ ability to monitor behavior, including for security reasons.

It was tabled by the Republican-led House Business and Labor Committee on Friday, a day after a Thursday hearing.

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