Wearable Technology: How Employers Can Limit Their Risks


Some tech experts predict wearable devices will one day make laptops, smartphones and tablets about as useful as an 8-track tape player. And that day could be coming sooner than you think, says Atlanta employment attorney Tracy Moon, Jr. of Fisher & Phillips.

Moon discussed wearable technology and what it could mean for the workplace in a recent XpertHR webinar. Examples of these wearable devices include Apple watches, earbuds with biometric sensors and fitness trackers. “Newer employees are more tech savvy and more agreeable to using these devices,” says Moon. “Many people want the latest and greatest advances.” That’s why he sees it as a trend very much on the rise.

Most of the attendees agreed, with 75% saying they believe wearable technology will improve workplace productivity and profitability. Among the other benefits Moon details include:

  • Improved customer service;
  • Smart glasses that free up both hands and warn employees of hazards;
  • Better tracking of workplace injuries; and an
  • Employee training tool by using virtual reality.

But with those benefits also come some new business considerations and risks. For instance, Moon notes, “If they [employees] have wearable devices, you may not be aware they’re not working” as opposed to cell phones. And that’s not all.

For instance, the Atlanta attorney also says limited data security features may lead to unauthorized access to an employer’s data systems and give a green light to hackers. That’s why Moon believes it’s important to have a wearable device policy in place that includes safeguards.

“Disgruntled employees could use the technology to transmit a meeting to an attorney or government agency in real time without the notice and consent of the employer,” he explains.

Employers also need to consider video monitoring laws, audio recording laws and privacy issues in light of the new technology. In addition, Moon points out that wearable devices may invite increased scrutiny from government agencies and sound the alarm for OSHA, the EEOC or the National Labor Relations Board.

For more of Moon’s insights on this trending topic and the ways employers can reduce their legal and business risks, listen in to the latest XpertHR webinar.

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