Keeping track of employee time and attendance takes a lot of work. To minimize a monotonous but necessary, task, many organizations in Boston are using digital systems. These innovative time and attendance systems automatically keep track of employee data.
Fairly new on the horizon of time tracking is biometrics technology. The technology itself is not entirely new. Rather, the concept of using biometrics for improved workforce processes has become increasingly popular.
More organizations recognize the many benefits of scanning unique qualities of individual employees. Biometrics terminals read the fingerprint and other physical characteristics that cannot be duplicated. This protects employers against time theft and fraud since one employee cannot clock in for another.
Employees place a finger on the system’s scanner. The time clock identifies employees by reading their fingerprint, allowing them to clock in or out.
Data security is a growing concern as the sophistication of criminal enterprises increases. This makes a biometric time and attendance system increasingly popular for employers, but unpopular among employees.
Increased Workplace Security with Biometrics Time & Attendance Systems
Security in the workplace is a top priority for employers. The use of biometrics enables better recordkeeping of employees’ time. Facility security levels have also increased with biometric time and attendance systems. Nonemployees cannot easily gain access to facilities because of the information required for entry.
Some employees have begun to question the necessity of constant gathering of personal information. Some often express fears of date becoming compromised, misused or stolen. These concerns are speculative when employers use reliable biometric systems with proper safeguards in place.
Further, proper explanation of this technology and how information gathered is used should allay any concerns of misuse. Actual information stored is a comparison model to their individual fingerprint characteristic.
Why Employees are Challenging Biometrics Security Requests
Biometric time and attendance technology for Boston area businesses is more than a photograph and badge. Employers enforce biometrics to track, authenticate, identify and monitor employees.
Rarely did employees object to pictures for security identification badges. But for some reason, biometrics makes them uneasy. They want to challenge their employer’s request for biometrics data citing privacy and security concerns.
Often, the very reason employers want to implement this new technology is the basis of employee objections. Many view this latest technology as too invasive. Others are concerned about the security of submitting personal data. It is unnerving for some to know biometrics tracks and monitors their every movement.
It behooves employers to consider practical and legal concerns their employees have about this type of time tracking system. Some states have laws that address the legalities of using biometrics.
Dealing with Employee Privacy Concerns
Employees fearing the misuse of their data may refuse being scanned for fingerprints. They object to what is seen as an invasion of privacy and will not consent to the collection or recording of any type of biometric data.
This poses a problem for employers and introduces the question of how to handle such issues. One way to handle this when employers operate in an employment-at-will state is to terminate employment. This can be done for any positive or negative lawful reason.
Until legislation that addresses this employment issue is available, the at-will doctrine gives employers the right to terminate an employee. From an employee relations perspective, this might not be the best resolution when an employee refuses to provide her iris scan or fingerprint.
Employers should consider all facts before making a swift decision. A recent comparison is what happened when employers collected social media passwords from employees and job applicants. Outrage led to swift legislation to declare this act an invasion of privacy.
Laws passed in response to this activity, as well as using social security numbers, imposed liability on employers. They must maintain proper security and integrity of all systems and processes that contain personal information.
Practical Tips to Implementing Biometric Technology into the Workplace
These practical tips will help small and medium sized businesses in Boston implement a biometric strategy for time and attendance.
- Notify employees in writing of the organization’s plans to use a biometric system to collect fingerprints.
- Verify applicable privacy and other relevant employment laws before implementing the system.
- Include strict security procedures and policies to ensure data is stored and safeguarded in a secure manner.
- Unionized companies should provide sufficient notice to the union. Verify whether the collective bargaining agreement allows for the system.
- Be prepared to consider accommodation requests from employees. Those who raise issues based on being part of a protected class have a legitimate cause.
Emerging technologies guarantees that biometrics in the workplace will continue to grow in popularity. The overall consensus, despite a few employee objections, is the advantages of securing accuracy in time tracking outweighs the disadvantages.