This article in the WSJ discusses wearable devices in the workplace and the legal concerns that may come about with employer tracking/ spying. The main issue brought up is how companies are allowed to use the data they collect.
I personally believe that collecting certain data from wearables like Fitbits, and Apple watches can be beneficial to the workers and employers. In terms of health effects, and insurance policies many workers find themselves not getting enough exercise throughout the day because of sitting in an office all day. With a Fitbit employees can use this as a motivation to perhaps go for a walk during lunch, or even sleeping more at night which can lead to a healthier individual. A healthier individual is at work more often, more attentive, and has the energy to complete their work which benefits the employer as well. Some insurance policies can also track this data in order to perhaps increase benefits or lower payments.
In terms of what employers can actually do with this data is where I am not sure where I stand. This article suggested a third party come in and review the data and not the employer themselves. I definitely believe that their needs to be some separation of what the employer can track. I don’t think location, or voice recordings should be allowed but having an employer know step count, calorie count, even number of hours of sleep can be beneficial. I don’t believe that an employer should be able to fire an individual because they’re not active enough or not sleeping enough. At the same time if an individual’s performance is below par and there is past data of an individual being more active, sleeping more, and doing better work then I think that can contribute to the company’s case. But then there’s a touchy area of being discriminating against people who are not as active as someone else.
Another issues this article brings up is can/ should a company mandate on the job wearables? As I previously stated I do believe wearable fitness tracker could be extremely beneficial for the health and well being of just about everyone. In my opinion I do think companies should mandate wearables solely for the fact to monitor health. Many companies have wellness programs and I think it should be mandated, not only for work purposes but can help people stay healthy. But this is America, and if someone doesn’t want to wear a health and fitness tracker at work then that’s their choice.
In conclusion, I definitely see the health pros of having people wear fitness trackers at work, but in regards to what data employers can track/ use is where I’m not really sure. It seems to be a stride in the right direction in terms of using technology in the workplace, but everyone will always fear big brother, and there has to be rules put in place to protect the privacy of employees.