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How to Manage Wearable Devices at Work

Authors: Tracy L. Moon, Jr., Fisher Phillips and Beth P. Zoller, XpertHR Legal Editor

Wearable devices (or wearables) are an emerging technology that stands to have a profound effect on the workplace and the way people work, communicate and interact. Wearable devices are clothing and accessories (e.g., a watch, glasses, etc.) that incorporate computers, cameras and other forms of electronic technologies. While wearables have many of the same capabilities as laptop computers and hand-held devices, they are generally more sophisticated and can even outperform these devices because they have other capabilities such as tracking physiological functions and individual movements and recording the surrounding environment. Whether it is an Apple Watch an employee uses to review work-related emails or a FitBit an employee is wearing as part of an employer-sponsored wellness plan to monitor health and fitness, wearable devices bring many issues to light because while there are significant benefits to it, there are also substantial drawbacks. Therefore, an employer should be prepared to implement safeguards to protect their legitimate business interests.

In order to effectively manage wearable devices in the workplace, an employer should consider following the steps: