Two workforce regulators pledged to share information regarding instances of improper employer use of surveillance tools and the sale of employees’ personal information.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) adopted a memorandum of understanding to share information that will “help to identify and end financial practices that harm workers and to enhance the enforcement of federal consumer financial protection and labor laws and regulations,” the agencies announced Tuesday in a press release.
Surveillance tools used to track worker productivity, including those that use artificial intelligence, can continue to track employees outside of working hours. The CFPB and NLRB said they are concerned that “companies that own the surveillance tools might sell worker data to financial institutions, insurers, and other employers. Certain actions by these surveillance companies may be violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act along with other consumer financial protection laws.”
The information sharing between the CFPB and NLRB also covers instances of employer-driven debt for things like employer-mandated worker training or equipment. The debt incurred by employees to purchase these items could become an impediment for an employee seeking a job with better pay or working conditions, the regulators said.
“Today’s information sharing agreement is a step towards ensuring that workers are more fully protected from bad actors, debt traps, and illegal labor practices through promoting transparency and information sharing between the CFPB and NLRB,” the release said.
While there is no federal data privacy law, the revamped California Consumer Privacy Act does offer data privacy rights to employees, albeit only those working in California. The memo between the CFPB and NLRB might indicate these federal agencies will work together to root out misuse of employees’ personal information by employers, using labor and fair credit reporting laws to draft warning letters to companies and potentially pursue enforcement actions.