Microchipping employees – is this the future?

A US company has decided to microchip its employees.

Technology firm, Three Square Market, has announced that 50 of its 80 employees have volunteered to have radio frequency identification (RFID) technology implanted between their thumb and forefinger. This relieves them of the need to swipe a card or flash their ID badge to clock in.

Chief Executive Officer, Todd Westby, predicts the technology will be used, amongst other things, to open doors, use copy machines, log on to computers, unlock phones and store medical and health data. The aim is not to track employees, but make things easier for them around the workplace.

It is not the first company to do this as there have also been reports of companies in Europe, adopting a similar approach.

So will this be introduced in the UK?

We do love our technology, but we do have strict data protection laws in place.

With this type of technology, you would need to ensure that you comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act and the right to privacy under human rights law.

It is important to note that the law does allow employers to monitor employees, such as implement CCTV, monitor email inboxes, look at phone logs or web history, listen in to calls, carry out searches, conduct drug tests, insert devices in vehicles to record the worker’s location or seek information held by third parties (e.g. credit reference agencies). However you need to be open with your employees about the reason, nature and extent of the monitoring. This means that in employees’ Contracts of Employments or the Employee Handbook, employers need to explain the level of monitoring, if any, in place for their workplace.

If you are introducing a new form of monitoring, it is also useful to consult with employees to get their views beforehand. By consulting them, you will find it easier to get them on board.

Want to know more?

For further advice, we have developed specific guidance on CCTV and call and email monitoring.

Our Employment Law Advisers can also provide you with guidance and support.

Director of Legal Services

James Tamm

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