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Employers' wearable device policies should control and restrict use

Employers' wearable device policies should control and restrict use

Employer policies addressing wearable devices should be adapted to each workplace and incorporate who is permitted to use the devices, when they can and cannot be used, and where they can and cannot be used.

For instance, restrictions could be placed on who can access confidential information, and wearables can be forbidden in washrooms, locker rooms and meetings, experts say.

Employers “need to be very clear about the collection of data, and how they can utilize the data, including covering issues such as trade secrets and customer lists,” said Melissa K. Ventrone, a partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker L.L.P. in Chicago.

Policies should say specifically these devices should be used strictly for business, and not for personal use in the workplace, “because that will keep it business, and it will ensure the safety and privacy of the employee” and address issues that arise on the corporate side, said Christopher Nucifora, managing partner at Kaufman, Dolowich & Voluck L.L.P. in Hackensack, New Jersey.

“The policies really need to be adaptable enough to change” when the technology changes, Ms. Ventrone said. “It's important when they're developing their policies and procedures they're not looking six months ahead, but they're looking two and three years ahead, and considering the theoretical developments and how that will impact the company, even if they do not all eventually come to fruition.”

In addition, do not name particular products. “Instead, talk about portable health devices,” for instance, she said.

“The gist of our policy is that anybody wearing wearable technology has to have permission” to do so, said Jerry Irvine, chief information officer at Schaumburg, Illinois-based Prescient Solutions, an information technology consulting firm, which uses Google Glass when providing training to its clients.

Written permission first must be obtained from the company's clients, he said. Company consultants are also forbidden to do automatic backups of the data they collect. This is important to avoid having this data wind up in the cloud, where it may be vulnerable to being hacked, Mr. Irvine said.

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