Your Boss May Be Able to Track If You're Trying to Get Pregnant
Large companies can now obtain employee health information from big data companies, including when and if they've stopped filling their birth control prescriptions.
Photo via Flickr user Monik Markus
Thanks to big data, your employer may soon know when you're expecting. According to the Wall Street Journal, companies can now pay for health care data services that track when their employees stop taking birth control.
The data, collected by employee wellness firms like Castlight Healthcare, Inc., is designed to help bosses cut health care costs and improve their employees' wellness. That seems innocuous enough on the surface, but it starts to look slightly more dystopian when you consider boss types could theoretically choose to track where their workers shop, if they vote, and even what prescriptions they fill—or don't fill.
Castlight, for example, can cross-reference an employee's age, gender, and number of kids, along with fertility-related searches in its app—and insurance claims—to find out who stopped filling birth control prescriptions, effectively creating a list of potential mothers-to-be.
It's a federal crime to discriminate against a woman for being pregnant, and privacy laws remain in place to protect employees' health information. But if female employees opt in for services like Castlight, and their employers start tracking who is and isn't taking the pill, things could get extra weird at the office in the near future.
- VICE US
- Big data
- birth control
- data mining
- family planning
- The Wall Street Journal
- data collection
- workplace discrimination
- healthcare companies
- employee health information