Organizations Send Letter to Biden Administration Requesting Regulation of Employer Surveillance and Algorithmic Management Systems That Monitor Employee Productivity and Efficiency
Governing for Impact and the Center for Democracy and Technology sent a letter to the White House, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requesting that the Biden Administration direct NIOSH to study and OSHA to regulate Employer Surveillance and Algorithmic Management (ESAM) technology. The letter defines ESAM that should be regulated by OSHA as:
“A diverse set of technological tools and techniques to remotely manage workforces, relying on data collection and surveillance of workers to enable automated or semi-automated decision-making. There are several categories of workplace surveillance technologies, including: remote monitoring and tracking, gamification, and algorithmic management. Remote monitoring and time tracking allows companies to enforce pace-of-work policies that may not even be known to workers. Gamification describes technology that is meant to motivate workers using video game elements, such as digital points, badges, and friendly competition. And algorithmic management is the overarching system that takes input from these surveillance technologies and makes assessments sometimes leading to disciplinary action and adjustments to increase worker productivity. The types of technologies that enable ESAM include handheld devices, point-of-sale systems, mobile phones, fingerprint scanners, fitness and wellness apps, cameras, microphones, body sensors, keycards, electronic communication monitoring, geolocation tracking, collaboration tools, and customer review solicitation.”
The letter states that employers across the economy are using ESAM to push employees and contractors to work harder and faster, adding that these practices “endanger worker’s safety and health, hinder their ability to organize, and limit their access to rights of employment.” The full letter is available here.
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