August 3, 2017 – This week, firm partner Shawn Wanta was interviewed about the recent decision by Wisconsin tech company Three Square Marketing to begin embedding radio-frequency identification (RFID) microchips into its employees. While touted as a security measure for the company and a convenience to employees, the move raises questions about employee privacy.
August 3, 2017 – This week, firm partner Shawn Wanta was interviewed by Al Jazeera television about the recent decision by Wisconsin tech company Three Square Marketing to begin embedding radio-frequency identification (RFID) microchips into its employees. While touted as a security measure for the company and a convenience to employees, the move raises questions about employee privacy.
The microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice and implanted under the skin between the thumb and index finger, uses scanning technology similar to employer-issued keyless access cards to allow employees to open locked doors, pay for meals and use vending machines–all with the scan of the hand.
The company claims the technology is being offered for convenience to employees, is voluntary and will not be used to collect information about employees. Further, because the microchip is not GPS-enabled, the company cannot track the exact location of employees. However, the technology may allow employers to see how much time employees spend in the office, cafeteria or bathroom and what foods are selected from vending machines. As Wanta notes: “Piecing the information together, the employer can get a pretty good idea about what the employee’s workday looks like.”
While the microchip has been FDA-approved, some employees have declined participating in the program citing possible health concerns. Further, some experts have noted the possible risk that servers hosting chip information could be vulnerable to a data breech. Nonetheless, other private and public employers have begun to express interest in RFID technology and application and may follow suit in the future. Employment lawyers and data security and privacy practitioners will be closely following these developments.
Shawn Wanta is founding partner of Wanta Thome PLC and frequently presents on topics concerning employment law, including workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation. In addition to employment law, Shawn leads the firm’s class and complex litigation practice group and has consistently been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star in class actions/mass torts by his peers.
Wanta Thome PLC is committed to protecting the rights of employees who have suffered unlawful workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation. If you believe your employment rights have been violated, contact Shawn or any of our employment attorneys by clicking here or calling us at 612-252-3570.
See the full article and video clip here.