Author: Matthew Finnegan

California eyes law to protect workers from digital surveillance

The California State Assembly is considering new rules that would offer workers greater protection from the use of digital monitoring tools by employers.

The “Workplace Technology Accountability Act” (AB 1651), introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, would create a way to protect workers against the use of technologies that can negatively affect privacy and wellbeing.

The bill would “establish much needed, yet reasonable, limitations on how employers use data-driven technology at work,” Kalra told the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on Wednesday. “The time is now to address the increasing use of unregulated data-driven technologies in the workplace and give workers — and the state — the necessary tools to mitigate any insidious impacts caused by them.”

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Employee monitoring risks ‘spiraling out of control,’ union group warns

An increase in workplace surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to widespread discrimination, work intensification, and unfair treatment of workers unless regulatory safeguards are put in place, according to a prominent UK union group.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC), which represents most unions in the UK, published survey results this week  highlighting the use of surveillance technologies to monitor workers in a variety of job roles.

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EU ‘gig worker’ rules look to rein in algorithmic management

Companies who employ “gig” workers would have to provide greater transparency about the use of algorithmic management and monitoring under rules proposed by the European Commission last week. The rules, if they go into effect, should be expanded to all workers subject to management by automated systems, according to workplace experts.

As with other European Union legislation, the rules would affect US companies with gig workers in the region.

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Rise in employee monitoring prompts calls for new rules to protect workers

As remote work rose sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses sought ways to keep track of workers no longer in the direct sight of managers. Now, with remote work strategies still in place — and office re-openings being pushed back —, the use of monitoring tools continues to grow.

In fact, the use of new and increasingly powerful technologies to manage and monitor workers has become so common that there are growing calls for regulators in the U.K. and U.S to update rules to protect employees.

“We have seen a significant increase of interest in employee monitoring technology through the pandemic,” said Helen Poitevin, VP analyst at Gartner focusing on human capital management technologies. “This continues as organizations plan for hybrid work environments, with employees working more flexibly from home and at the office.” 

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