Bill seeks to balance employee privacy with intellectual property protection

Missouri Chamber

Today’s cloud computing services, social media platforms and mobile computing devices are powerful tools for personal and business use. However, as employees access these services while at work, many uncomfortable situations may arise for companies.

For example, do Missouri employers have a right to access their employees’ online accounts? Can employers require their staff to provide username and password information for online services created for work purposes? Can you punish an employee who saves proprietary business information to a personal data cloud service?

House Bill 120 seeks to clarify Missouri law on these matters. Sponsored by Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, the bill both protects employees’ privacy while empowering employers to safeguard their intellectual property and technology investments.

For employees, the bill would prohibit companies from requesting or requiring personal online account passwords from their workers or job applicants. Employers also could not penalize, discipline or choose not to…

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