Spying On Employees Under Scrutiny

The National Labor Relations Board has said it is now working full force against surveillance and excessive monitoring of employees.

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NLRB sent out a new memo detailing their opposition to a range of monitoring tactics increasingly more common for businesses.

“For instance, some employers record workers’ conversations and track their movements using wearable devices, cameras, radio-frequency identification badges and GPS tracking devices,” the group said. “And some employers monitor employees’ computers with keyloggers and software that takes screenshots, webcam photos, or audio recordings throughout the day. Employers may use this data to manage employee productivity, including disciplining employees who fall short of quotas, penalizing employees for taking leave, and providing individualized directives throughout the workday.”

Amazon, for instance is known to track the number of steps that employees take in their warehouses to measure their productivity. Heavily monitoring computer use is common at many companies.

Now practices like those are in question.

“It concerns me that employers could use these technologies to interfere with the exercise of Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act by significantly impairing or negating employees’ ability to engage in protected activity—and to keep that activity confidential from their employer,” said General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “Thus, I plan to urge the Board, to the greatest extent possible, to apply the Act to protect employees from intrusive or abusive electronic monitoring and automated management practices that would have a tendency to interfere with Section 7 rights.”

 

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