Senators Introduce Bill to Protect Workers Against Employer Surveillance

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In a move to protect workers from exploitative employer surveillance, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) have introduced the Stop Spying Bosses Act. This legislation would create much-needed standards, protections, and oversight to counter the growing trend of employers using invasive technologies to track their workers’ activities, on and off duty. Senator Casey said that American workers are “the backbone of our country,” and they deserve to be treated with “basic dignity at work.” With this new bill, the playing field is leveled a bit more for employees who are increasingly being monitored by their employers in an intrusive and unfair manner.

“As the power imbalance in workplaces continues to grow, employers are increasingly using invasive surveillance technologies that allow them to track their workers like pieces of equipment,” said Senator Casey. “American workers are the backbone of our country, and they deserve to be treated with basic dignity at work. The Stop Spying Bosses Act is a first step to level the playing field for workers by holding their bosses accountable for using invasive technology against them.”

“In recent years, employers have used technologies to intrude on the privacy of their employees, tracking their activities both on and off duty, and using the invasively gathered information to penalize workers,” said Senator Booker. “Workers deserve better, and this legislation seeks to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect at the workplace by empowering them with the resources they need to fight against employee surveillance.”

“The growing use of technology to spy on workers on and off the job is disturbing. Workers deserve to be treated with respect, not with relentless suspicion. Our bill protects workers’ safety and privacy by limiting the use of employee tracking technology, and holds companies accountable for using it to undermine workers’ right to collective action and union organizing,” said Senator Schatz.

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The Stop Spying Bosses Act would level the playing field for workers by requiring disclosures in a timely, accessible, and public manner and establishing prohibitions for employers engaging in employee surveillance, including data collection that interferes with union organizing. Workers would be newly empowered in employment decisions made by automated decision-making systems and AI thanks to this new bill. The bill would also create a new Privacy and Technology Division at the Department of Labor to enforce and regulate workplace surveillance including novel and emerging technologies.

Senator Casey previously urged the Department of Labor to track invasive and exploitative surveillance technologies in an August 2022 letter, and pressed President Biden to create a White House task force to examine the expansive use of these technologies in workplaces in December 2022.

In addition to Senators Casey, Booker, and Schatz, the Stop Spying Bosses Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators John Fetterman (D-PA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and supported by the Economic Policy Institute, National Employment Law Project, the Athena Coalition, the Communications Workers of America, the SEIU, and the AFL-CIO.

Read more about the Stop Spying Bosses Act here.

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