Tech That Saves EU Firms From Covid-19 Could Kill Them in Court
Added 06-02-20 06:04:03am EST - “(Bloomberg) -- Technology may allow companies across Europe to open more quickly and protect the health of employees as they try to rebound from coronavirus lockdowns.It might also mean they end up in court.With lockdowns lifting,…” - Finance.yahoo.com
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(Bloomberg) -- Technology may allow companies across Europe to open more quickly and protect the health of employees as they try to rebound from coronavirus lockdowns.
With lockdowns lifting, many employers plan to use systems, including fever-detecting thermal cameras, mask-checking systems and corporate contact-tracing devices, to help prevent new Covid-19 outbreaks. But in the European Union, where privacy laws are strict and health and safety rules can vary by country, businesses need to tread a narrow path to avoid hefty data-protection fines or incurring criminal liability over worker safety.
“At the moment it’s a bit like the Wild West,” said Kerstin Neighbour, global head of the employment practice at law firm Hogan Lovells in Frankfurt. “We’re in a situation where we need to act fast, where employers may feel a need to overstep certain boundaries to basically make sure that the company survives.”
But some of those decisions, she said, are being made with a risk that courts will later find that they were ill-considered when the crisis passes.
Data protection violations alone could lead to fines of as much as 4% of a company’s annual sales under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. But firms are also bumping up against employment laws that could bring penalties or, in rare cases, jail time for executives, if they’re found to have insufficiently protected workers’ safety.
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