This Saturday is World Mental Health day and no doubt lots of charities and mental health organisations will be encouraging employers to do more to look after the mental wellbeing of their employees. It made me sad, therefore, to see a Facebook clip yesterday of Swedish employees volunteering to have a chip the size of a grain of rice implanted under their skin to enable them to access the workplace instead of using a key or to access the photocopier instead of entering a code number.
At this stage this RFID (radio frequency identification) is experimental and the staff involved are volunteers but it doesn’t take too much imagination to imagine less progressive employers using the devices to keep tabs on their staff, making it compulsory for anyone who wants to work for them and staff generally being made to feel that Big Brother is watching them as opposed to using such technology for the good like making sure staff are taking sufficient rest breaks.
One would hope that our Information Commissioner would quickly develop it’s guidance on monitoring and surveillance of employees to govern such technology but I’m all too aware of employers who already operate without much recourse to such guidance. For example Caerphilly Council was warned last year about surveillance of a sick employee – see https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/news-and-blogs/2014/12/caerphilly-council-warned-after-employee-surveillance/
If you aren’t sure about whether the practices you have in your organisation are compliant with the law in this area speak to us about a Data Protection Audit.