Australia’s Fair Work Commission has had to deal with for the first time ever whether an employee may be fired for refusing to submit to biometric finger scanning required by an employer. The case which involves an employee’s concerns about the collection of sensitive data such as a fingerprint scanning and what potential violations of the Australian Privacy Act were committed.
Currently under the act, if an organization has personal information about someone that was collected for a particular purpose, the organization generally must not use or disclose the information for another purpose unless that person has consented it be used for. Organizations that breach privacy laws may then face significant criminal and civil penalties.
In this case, the employer a Queensland-based sawmill Superior Wood, fired a casual factory hand in February last year after he refused to register his fingerprints for use in a new biometric scanner that all employees had to use to record their attendance at work.
Understandably concerned about the collection of his personal information, an employee objected. In turn, the employer fired him for violating its attendance policy.
The worker filed for unfair dismissal, claiming the sawmill’s attendance policy was unlawful because his fingerprints are sensitive information under privacy legislation and his employer could not compel him to provide them.
Then after a Fair Trade Commissioner denied the plaintiff’s unfair dismissal claim, the employee appealed to the Fair Work Commission full bench.
The plaintiff argued that the commissioner failed to consider whether the request to comply with the fingerprint scanning policy was lawful and reasonable, particularly when the employee refused to consent to the disclosure of his biometric data.
However, the full bench sided with the worker on appeal, in a ruling expected to throw the entire viability of finger and retinal scanning technology within the workplace quite up in the air.
As more states and agencies consider and implement biometric privacy laws, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to ensure that they are prepared for, and complying with the current and potentially applicable biometric privacy laws.
Or you could just use VeriDoc Globals finished solution and avoid the issue entirely.
See our ID explanation video here.
VeriDoc Global has developed a finished solution that involves embedding a QR code on an ID with a unique digital hash inside the QR code. The hash holds a string of information that is then placed on the blockchain network for security, verification, and most important end-user validation with no need for biometric data. Using our free VeriDoc Global app on your smartphone, scan the QR code on the ID in the image and the app will show you the true ID produced by the issuer.
This allows you to compare and see if the ID is original and that the person using is it is the person who was correctly issued the ID. The VeriDoc Global QR code reading app is a key component of the solution. If someone tried to create their own QR codes, it will fail the verification process because it doesn’t exist in VeriDoc Global’s library.
For those that don’t know, QR codes are a type of matrix barcode or two-dimensional barcode. While a standard QR code can hold up to 3kb of data, compared to a standard barcode that holds less than 100 characters.
The VeriDoc Global app also comes preloaded with Change of State (CoS) technology. This allows ID issuers the ability to control and view all changes relating to ID ownership.
VeriDoc Global uses a unique digital hash that is stored on the QR code. When a QR reader is used to scan the QR code, the system looks at the unique hash and then checks the hash on the blockchain. With CoS whenever an employee signed in and the ID was scanned there would be a record of it added to the blockchain and timestamped. The system verifies that the hash exists on the blockchain and then displays the original document that is linked to the hash with all the times the ID was scanned and used, making it perfect for accounting and attendance. Blockchain technology prevents the data and the QR code from ever being changed or removed and you can check it yourself with any smartphone or QR scanner.
Wise and prudent employers should make sure there’s a choice between biometric scanning and less intrusive options for employees who feel strongly about their privacy. Blockchain and VeriDoc Global can be that choice.
It’s a perfect solution to an ever-changing, privacy-driven new world.
To learn more about our finished solutions and blockchain use cases, please visit our website at www.veridocglobal.com or just click on the banner below.