Rafi Bortnick

Volume 75, Issue 5, 1479-1534

This Note argues that stronger legal protections are necessary in California to protect workers’ dignitary interests in the workplace in the face of prevalent electronic monitoring. In particular, those protections should be grounded in a respect for a worker’s personhood rather than property rights relating to worker data collected by employers. In California, workers have some limited privacy and autonomy protections found in common law, the state constitution, and various statutes. Caselaw and legislative enactments have recognized the value of protecting personhood. The passage of the California Privacy Rights Act in 2020 marked a shift toward privacy protections grounded in data as property. This Note critiques the ability of that law to protect workers’ dignitary interests. Moving past the critique, this Note offers suggestions for improving California work standards under the law today, in addition to proposing legislation to strengthen protections for workers in the future based on personhood rather than property interests.