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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Technology (8)

Thursday
Apr062017

Always Connected

We use the term “always connected” to describe the fact that the technology at our fingertips can connect us quickly to others across the room, across the state, or across the world.  But when employers say we expect you to always be connected, do you expect that to mean microchipped?  Many of us would quickly respond with “absolutely not”.  But the CEO of Epicenter in Sweden may disagree.  Epicenter has embedded a chip into approximately 150 workers.  The chips are approximately the size of a grain of rice and function to open doors, operate printers, and buy products and services with a wave of the hand (where the chips are implanted). 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar032017

Your Watch Does What? Wearable Technology in the Workplace… For Better or Worse

From wristwatches that can take pictures to retinal scanners to fitness trackers, wearable devices are becoming increasingly popular in everyday life, including at work. A study found that employees using wearable technology reported an 8.5% increase in productivity and a 3.5% increase in job satisfaction. Although wearable devices can have many benefits, they can also present many challenges for HR professionals. Beth Smith and Ben Ford discuss how to maximize the benefits of wearable technology in the workplace, as well as how to implement policies that can protect employers, and their employees, with HR Power Hour’s host David Ciullo.

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Thursday
Jan192017

Are Your Employee Technology Policies from the Dark Ages?

With technology advancing at the current rate, the dark ages referenced isn’t ten or fifteen years ago, but instead, two or three.  If your capacity for reviewing policies and practices at the beginning of the year is limited, working with your information technology department and crafting up-to-date and relevant policies and practices related to technology in the workplace should be at the top of your list.

Activity tracking devices, smart glasses, and other employee efficiency tracking devices no longer serve as the baseline for technology in the workplace.  Last year, Sony filed a patent for a “smart” contact lens which will record images to an internal storage device so that users can “easily and quickly access” recordings.  How could this new technology effect your current confidentiality provisions?  Or, if you still have guidelines prohibiting recordings in the workplace (see the NLRB’s view on that here), what effect will these contacts have on your current policies?

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Thursday
Jan122017

Election Year Creates Complexity for Employers: Verrill Dana Hosts Full-Day Conference, 2017 Annual Employment Law Update

The 2016 elections – local and national – have given rise to a number of complicated developments in labor and employment law. To help employers understand these changes and how to address them, Verrill Dana will host a full-day Annual Employment Law Update on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at The Westin Portland Harborview Hotel.

“While we were all focused on the minimum salary rule, courts and agencies across the country implemented changes that will affect how human resources professionals will do their job in 2017 and beyond,” said Doug Currier, Chair of the Labor & Employment Group. “This year’s conference will highlight how to navigate the ever-evolving employment landscape and best practices for addressing increasingly prevalent workplace scenarios.”

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Friday
Jul152016

“Capturing” the Affect of Pokemon Go in the Office

This is reality. This is not a test. There are Pokémon in your office. Well, maybe; it’s more like there are not real Pokémon chilling outside your door, but more that in an augmented reality there are graphical elements placed within your real world. The thing is, either way, it can result in real productivity drains—likely 151 productivity drains (for those still learning that’s how many Pokémon there apparently are to collect), but this blog post will only comment on a few. So let’s get to it; while we have all seen people walking around waiving their phones in the air over the course of the last two weeks, have we sat down and considered the implications of this in the work environment?

  1. Integration: There’s something fascinating about augmented reality, I mean, look at the image here, I pulled six attorneys away from their desks to “capture” Butterfree (yes there is an attorney hiding behind the Pokémon). Is this a way to bring people together in your organization? Maybe, it brought us together—but there are probably other options to consider. At the same time, I thought starting this post off on a positive note was nice.

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Thursday
Nov192015

Nerds Develop Formula to Replace HR Managers

Here’s one from the too depressing to read before I’ve had my 5th cup of coffee file. Our friends at Bloomberg Business are reporting that an algorithm did a better job of selecting job candidates than real live human beings. Like you. And me.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (motto: 4% More Boring Than You Think We Are™) compared the tenure of more than 300,000 hires in low-skill service-sector jobs (like data entry and call center work) hired based on the algorithmic recommendations of a job test with individuals that humans hired. (The test asked the applicants a variety of questions and ran their responses through an algorithm, which then ranked the job candidates: green for high potential ones, yellow for moderate potential, and red for the lowest rated.)

Key takeaways:

  • Greens stayed at the job 12 days longer than yellows, who stayed 17 days longer than reds.

That may not sound like much, however, according to the article, the median duration of employees in these jobs is only about three months to begin with.

  • The more managers deviated from the test’s recommendations, the less likely candidates were to stay in their jobs.

An example: when recruiters hired a yellow instead of available greens, who were subsequently hired to fill other open positions, those greens stayed at the jobs about 8% longer.

  • The study also suggests that the individuals hired by humans were no more and in some cases, less productive that the algorithm’s recommended hires.

The actual study is available here - for $5.

It would be interesting to see if these results could be replicated for hires in more skilled industries. Until then, there’s only one sensible response to this automated takeover of the HR industry, and it ain’t another cup of coffee.