Bill to Carve Out Employee, Applicant, and Contractor Data from California Privacy Law Gathers Steam

April 26, 2019

A bill that would amend the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to exclude the data of employees, job applicants, and contractors from its requirements advanced out of committee, providing a potential precedent for a federal bill and other state efforts, and setting the stage for an HR Policy membership-wide conference call on data privacy on May 15. 

The bill (AB 25) would explicitly exempt employee, applicant, and contractor data from the CCPA: "'Consumer' does not include a natural person whose personal information has been collected by a business in the course of a person acting as a job applicant or as an employee, contractor, or agent, on behalf of the business, to the extent their personal information is used for purposes compatible with the context of the person's activities for the business as a job applicant, employee, contractor, or agent of the business." 
 
AB 25 is authored by the CCPA’s leading Assembly sponsor, Assembly member Ed Chau, and coauthored by Senators Bill Dodd and Bob Hertzberg, who introduced the CCPA alongside Assembly member Chau.  
 
Data privacy withers in the Evergreen State: A bill styled on the EU's General Data Protection Regulation failed to advance in the Washington House after the Senate approved it by a vote of 46-1 amid broad expectations that it would become law.  The bill's failure is due in large part to privacy advocates' insistence that its protections did not go far enough in areas such as facial recognition technology, which some advocated banning altogether.  But this does not mean the CCPA won’t be joined by another sweeping state privacy bill this year—two were recently introduced in Texas. 
 
The bottom line: AB 25's passage appears likely—though if Washington’s effort is any indication, it's not over until it's over.  Two particularly notable implications: First, opponents of AB 25 object that the bill does not protect workers from certain levels and kinds of monitoring.  Do not expect this debate to end even if AB 25 becomes California law.  Second, the passing of AB 25 could set a positive precedent for a federal effort and/or other state efforts, such as that underway in Texas.  HR Policy is engaging on this issue and is closely monitoring developments at the state and federal levels. 
 
HR Policy will hold a conference call on these and other pressing issues in the active data privacy debate on May 15, 2019 at 12 P.M. ET.  You can register for the call here or by contacting Natalie Stewart at nstewart@hrpolicy.org.