Companies Walk Fine Line on Employee Data

Companies Walk Fine Line on Employee Data

Privacy lawyers have urged companies worried about the coronavirus outbreak to exercise caution when collecting personal information and data from employees. Some corporate executives have introduced protective measures that could infringe on workers’ rights, the lawyers said, pointing to travel bans and mandatory health tests as examples of controversial actions. Jacob Birkeland, a spokesman for Sweden-based construction company Skanska AB, said it can be tough to find the right balance between appropriate concern and overreach. Existing data protection laws like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stipulate that companies can collect personal data only for a specific reason and must obtain individuals’ consent for how it will be used. European regulators have started to voice concern over health monitoring, and a handful of European nations have officially advised companies against health data collection. But some executives have said their employees support the health monitoring. “Security is really something that is very important for people in Germany, especially data security, but [employees] totally understand we want to keep them safe,” said a ProSiebenSat.1 spokeswoman.

From: Companies Walk Fine Line on Employee Data Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Wall Street Journal (03/12/20) Stupp, Catherine; Broughton, Kristin

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