California's Legislative Assembly is considering AB 1651. This comes amid greater public attention on workplace monitoring, especially as the pandemic resulted in far more at-home work.
The bill has several main goals. The first is to require employers to notify employees of any data collected about employees. The bill proposes that employees would then have the right to review and correct employer-created data. The apparent aim is to turn the collection of data and making of decisions with it into a two-way dialogue between employees and employers.
The second main goal is to broadly limit the collection and of data in workplaces to those specified by the employer and relevant to the employees' work.
The third primary goal will be to impose an impact report requirement upon employers. If passed, this will require employers to provide detailed reports on the impact their digital monitoring has upon different employees. The drafters appear concerned that digital monitoring software and practices are having a disparate impact upon employees who are members of protected classes.
These goals are likely a result of intensifying public distrust of workplace digitial monitoring, and is related to the drastic rise of remore work situations over the course of the pandemic. AB 1651 empowers the LWDA with enforcement of the proposed law. AB 1651 will now move to the Appropriations Committee for further debate since it has been approved by the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee.
If AB 1651 is signed into law, employers who use digital monitoring software to manage their employees should consult with competent counsel.
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