Biometric Data and COVID-19 in the Workplace

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Beware potential privacy implications of touchless technology.

As the country begins to shift back to traditional work environments during the return-to-work phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers will implement a range of risk mitigation measures designed to combat community spread of the virus in the workplace. In particular, many employers will turn to devices that incorporate facial recognition technology, which can be utilized in a variety of ways to enhance workplace safety and minimize the health risks associated with the virus. While this cutting-edge technology offers a range of benefits, its use also implicates a growing patchwork of biometric privacy laws that can leave employers vulnerable to significant liability exposure if not addressed properly. As such, employers that opt to implement policies featuring facial recognition software must ensure they take the appropriate measures to harness the benefits of this technology in a manner that also ensures compliance with current (and future) biometric privacy regulation.

Originally published in the November/December 2020 edition of CBA Report, a publication of the Cincinnati Bar Association.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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