Employees give up some privacy on the job. They can't expect what they do on their work computers to be secret, for instance. But they shouldn't have to worry about their employer snooping into their personal lives.
That's exactly what Bozeman tried to do in 2009 when it demanded job applicants provide their user names and passwords for social networking sites like Facebook. When the facts were exposed it caused such an uproar from privacy advocates (including the ACLU of Montana) and the public that the city quickly changed its policy.
Why should our online lives -- shared privately with friends and family -- be subject to our boss's scrutiny? Would an employer demand to enter your home, read your letters and thumb through your photo albums? No. They shouldn't demand access to your private email and photos you share with your friends either.
That's why the ACLU of Montana has been working with Sen. Anders Blewett on a bill prohibiting employers from demanding access to our online lives as a condition of employment. Senate Bill 195 would protect the privacy of that information. It will get its hearing Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Hearings and floor sessions can be accessed online.