Microchipping employees by Wisconsin company raises questions

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Wisconsin-based company, Three Square Market, is starting a pilot program to implant microchips in their employees.

About 50 of their 80 employees have volunteered for the program to replace traditional passwords and key cards.

Chattanooga Attorney Gary Massey with Massey & Associates says this is a case of technology moving ahead of the law.

“Right now, employees are protected from discrimination based on race, or gender, or national origin, and several other different factors – religion – but there’s no protection in place for an employee who refuses to allow an implant in their body,” Massey says, “and I think that’s a serious concern.”

Donna Christian-Lowe works in HR consulting with MSI Workforce Solutions. She wasn’t excited by the idea either.

“My initial thought is ‘Are you serious?’. The risk, the liability… are you serious?” said Christian-Lowe.

There are far more questions than answers surrounding the idea.

Massey had several questions about the microchips. He said, “Does this device interact with WiFi? Can it be reprogrammed without the employee’s knowledge? Does it set off metal detectors? There are all sorts of questions that have serious implications. What happens when you’re no longer employed there? Who pays for the removal? Can they continue to use it – if it’s not removed – even after you leave their employment?”

From the HR perspective, Christian-Lowe asked, “Well, can your hand be hacked? I mean, that would be my question. You can hack a credit card.”

Massey also asked, “If you start employing these devices around the clock, what does that mean for overtime? What does that mean for fair labor standards act? What does that mean for employee’s privacy?”

Companies like Three Square Market may try the new technology, but there is risk involved for the company and the employees.

“I think it’s a big risk to both, probably bigger to the employee than the employer, but there’s too many unknowns,” Massey said.

Christian-Lowe said, “Companies are going to do it, they are going to invest in it, but it is definitely going to be an HR risk. And a compliance risk and liability.”

Massey added, “The idea of having something implanted in a person’s body, especially in an employment context where you have an uneven bargaining relationship, I think it carries serious concerns.”

 

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