ICO consults on draft guidance: monitoring at work and health data
The information Commissioner's Office has launched two consultations, which close in January 2023, on monitoring at work and the use of workers' health data. The shift from predominantly office working to hybrid and homeworking arrangements has created more ambiguities about how employers may lawfully monitor their workforce. In particular, guidance on 'non-traditional' forms of tracking technologies will be welcomed. We can expect the final guidance to address the use of biometric data for monitoring purposes, as well as best practice when employers use third-party providers for monitoring purposes. It should be noted that the use of health tracking technologies has also become more widespread since the pandemic, with more employers keen to have a stake in the wellbeing of workers.
New Bill to protect workers from third-party harassment
Employers could once again be liable for third-party harassment if a Private Member's bill becomes law. The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill has passed through its second reading in the House of Commons and is now being considered by a committee. The Bill, if passed, will give workers protection in the workplace from third-party harassment and will also place a duty on employers to take steps to prevent third-party harassment.
The repeal of certain provisions of the Equality Act 2010 in 2013 meant that employers were no longer liable where staff were harassed by third parties. Cases of sexual harassment in the workplace were once again brought to the forefront of the media after the #MeToo movement in 2017. The Bill is specifically targeted towards supporting workers in the hospitality and retail sectors. It is reported that approximately 1.5 million people each year are victims of third-party abuse in the workplace and nearly 80% of female employees who experience harassment do not report it.