Welcome to a new world of person-to-person surveillance where rules, boundaries and etiquette have yet to be established. Your HR team needs to upgrade its policy manual to address the opportunities and threats of wearable technologies, especially covert recording devices.
For instance, two of the most touted wearable devices are smart glasses, with 100 million users predicted by 2020, and smart watches. Both allow your staff to record conversations, actions, meetings, misconduct and harassment, creating potential legal, ethical and procedural nightmares for your company.
Concerns Related to Wearable Technology
Wearable technology has awesome potential, which is why more and more employers are outfitting their workers with it. Fitness trackers offer incentives in weight management and overall health improvement. Google Glass apps alert tired drivers when their eyes begin to droop, and provide firefighters with instant access to building floor plans and hydrant locations.
But the flip side? Real, business-critical concerns when it comes to areas like liability, employee crime and privacy. Whoa.
- For many workers, the prospect creates anxiety. Your managers must focus on issues that drive productivity. They need to communicate that the goal of wearable technology is to drive business performance, not to spy on or punish individual workers.
- People may feel that their privacy is threatened. Wearables collect information, which may be personal as well as valuable. A major risk for you as an employer is loss of intellectual property. Employees wearing Google Glass, for example, can copy, record and take pictures of information that can then be transmitted to anyone, anywhere, without lifting a finger. It’s like a cell phone, but more discreet. It can even occur by accident.
- There is no antivirus protection. Hackers can infiltrate wearable devices and easily grab what they want. Your employees may worry that personal their personal information may be used against them. And you need to consider the risk of a worker suing you for invasion of privacy.
Here are some guidelines for setting your wearable technology policy and putting related controls in place:
- Decide whether employees should be able to wear devices and under what circumstances. This decision will be largely driven by the specific nature of your business. Protocol will be more easily determined by who owns the devices – employer or employee.
As you formulate your policy, consider these questions:
- Will you permit staff to wear devices at work?
- What is your legal stance on covert AV recording in any situation?
- What happens if an employee covertly records a disciplinary meeting, misconduct, harassment or similar scenario and seeks to submit is as evidence? Will you use it, even though it was obtained via questionable means? Will the employee be subject to disciplinary action?
- Can your employees use wearable technology as part of a whistleblowing policy to uncover corruption?
- Are workplace video and audio recordings company confidential? What happens if a worker shares this content?
- Does your policy permit you to monitor content accessed by wearable users?
- How should employees use wearable tech for informal work-related social events; for instance, your office holiday party?
When it comes to your HR policies and procedures – including those pertinent to wearable technology – there’s a lot to think about. For expert guidance and expertise, consider partnering with the pros from PrideStaff Modesto. Contact us today to learn more.