Clocking Out

Bosses Are Spying on Employees With Work-Provided Fitness Trackers

"It's quite possible there will be effects on whether you are retained, promoted, demoted — who is first to be laid off."

2. 19. 19 / Dan Robitzski
FitNishMedia/Tag Hartman-Simkins
Image by FitNishMedia/Tag Hartman-Simkins


If your workplace gives you a fitness tracker, there’s a chance your boss can personally sift through the data it provides.

That means that your boss will know how often you move around and other information on your lifestyle, and possibly even whether you’re at risk of things like heart disease — even if you wear the device during the weekend, according to The Washington Post.

Nudge Nudge

Often, employers will issue fitness trackers to encourage their employees to live more physically-active lifestyles, like one man interviewed by the Post who got a surprise congratulatory phone call from his boss of 25 years after increasing his daily step count. Employees may even get cash incentives or reduced medical premiums if they agree to wear the devices.

“Sustained behavior change is really the focus,” Adam Pellegrini, senior vice president of Fitbit Health Solutions, told the Post. “Through the system, we can actually see who is not hitting their goals, who is not adhering to that action plan.”


Benevolent Bosses

But in exchange for those incentives, employees may be trading over more access to their personal lives than they realize. And given that fitness trackers are notoriously inaccurate, that means your boss could be evaluating you based on false information.

“The more that employers know about their employees’ lives, especially outside the workplace, off-duty hours, the more potential control or effects they have on their lives in the first place,” Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation told the Post. “It’s quite possible there will be effects on whether you are retained, promoted, demoted — who is first to be laid off.”

READ MORE: With fitness trackers in the workplace, bosses can monitor your every step — and possibly more [The Washington Post]

More on workplace surveillance: Walmart Patents Tech for Eavesdropping on Workers


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