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Three Square Market, a Wisconsin-based tech company, recently became one of the first in the world to microchip staff. David Sheppard looks at the employment law implications of this controversial move.
Recent headlines announced that employees at a Wisconsin-based tech company, Three Square Market, have been ‘microchipped’ in order to replace their company security and identity cards. 50 workers out of a workforce of 80 have agreed to have a microchip the size of a grain of rice implanted between their thumb and forefinger.
The $300 chips will allow them to check into work, log onto computers, open secure doors and buy company food and drink – all using radio-frequency identification technology.
However, it’s important to note that the chips currently don’t have GPS capabilities – so the company can’t monitor their employees’ locations.
Speaking to the BBC, Three Square Market’s vice-president of international development, Tony Danna, described it as “the same thing as the chip that is in your credit card. The entire point of the chip is convenience”.
"It takes about two seconds to put it in and to take it out. Putting it in is "like getting a shot" using a syringe, while taking it out it like removing a splinter,” he explained.
Has this been done before?
Three Square Market is taking a lead from Sweden, where a number of companies are pioneering the employee microchip movement.
One such example is Epicenter, a digital hub in Stockholm that houses more than 300 start-ups and innovation labs for larger companies. In recent years the hub has made implanted chips available to its workers and to member organisations.
The Swedish company that