In the article “Another State Bans Employers Microchipping Workers,” labor and employment partner Susan Kline spoke to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) about the state of Indiana’s new law that will take effect July 1 and will prohibit employers from requiring employees to have devices implanted into their bodies.
“It’s a pre-emptive strike,” said Kline. “It sends a signal of ‘don’t even think about it.’ Why? First, because it’s invasive. Then there are the ramifications in terms of lack of control over what data is collected, and how it is used, and how device mandates put employees in the position of feeling pressured or at risk of retaliation. The Indiana law contains a prohibition against retaliation for refusing to voluntarily receive a device implant.”
Kline said privacy concerns include questions like, “Can it track your location? Can it track what kind of motion you make to monitor productivity? What about collecting medical information in violation of the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act]? What about when someone leaves? Who does the device belong to? How would an extraction procedure be enforced?”
Regarding potential benefits of the technology for employees, Kline added, “This could certainly be a vexing issue for the future. The Indiana law states that you can’t mandate an implant, but people can volunteer for it. It can be sold to employees as a perk of the job.”
Kline also explained, “The one person who voted against the Indiana law said that it’s not only a solution in search of a problem since we aren’t hearing this is something employers are doing, but also said that this technology may develop into something positive in the future, so why prohibit what does not yet exist?”
In conclusion, Kline said, “As states go into this, it is important that laws be carefully crafted because provisions could have unintended consequences for the future.”