The use of biometric data is continuously increasing, including in the workplace. Biometric data may include facial characteristics, hand geometry, a retina/iris scan, a fingerprint or a voiceprint. Employers often collect and use biometric data to establish records of employee hours, to restrict access to specific areas, computer systems, data or devices, to provide security and to promote employee health, including through wellness programs.
Virtually every thoughtful employer wants to hire the very best employees they can find. And why not? Good workers produce better products, provide better service, give maximum effort, learn and adopt the company’s best practices and culture. Bad employees are indifferent, if not outright negative about the company, its customers, its products, its values.
On March 8, the House’s Education and Workforce Committee passed a bill, HR 1313 – Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act. The bill, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx in order to “reaffirm existing law to allow employee wellness programs to be tied to responsible financial incentives,” follows a May 2016 ruling by the EEOC that allows for premiums to be cut by up to 30% for individuals and 60% for couples enrolled in wellness programs.