September 2000 — A bill proposed earlier this summer that would prohibit companies from secretly monitoring employees’ e-mail and Internet usage could get key congressional subcommittee approval this week as lawmakers rush to finish up business before adjourning next month.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution is due to vote on the bill, officially known as the Notice of Electronic Monitoring Act, sometime this week and then send it to the full House Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee’s approval is needed before the entire House membership can take up the bill.

An identical bill is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Last week, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a chief sponsor of the measure, said in testimony before the House subcommittee that the House and Senate bills represent a “first line of defense” against workforce practices “that can be nothing more than a blatant invasion of privacy.”