White House to study employer tools that monitor workers

May 1, 2023

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration plans to study companies’ use of technology to monitor and manage workers, which it said on Monday is becoming increasingly common and can cause “serious risks to workers.”

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in a blog post, sought comments from employees about their experience with surveillance technology, and asked employers and software vendors how they develop and use them.

“While these technologies can benefit both workers and employers in some cases, they can also create serious risks to workers,” the OSTP said.

“Monitoring conversations can deter workers from exercising their rights to organize and collectively bargain with their employers. And, when paired with employer decisions about pay, discipline, and promotion, automated surveillance can lead to workers being treated differently or discriminated against.”

Advocates have been critical for years of how companies use such technology, saying it can violate worker privacy, hamper union activities and enable discrimination.

The Biden administration has made labor issues a centerpiece of its economic policies following years of wages failing to keep up with inflation on basics like housing.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Richard Chang)

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