In the digital age, data is everything. “Big Data” feeds countless business processes and offerings. Businesses rely on data to enhance revenue and drive efficiency, whether by better understanding the needs of existing customers, reaching new ones in previously unimagined ways, or obtaining valuable insights to guide a wide array of decisions. Data also drives developments in artificial intelligence, automation, and the Internet of Things. Come 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) may significantly impact businesses’ data practices, with new and burdensome compliance obligations such as “sale” opt-out requirements and, in certain circumstances, restrictions on tiered pricing and service levels. This entry in Hogan Lovells’ ongoing series on the CCPA will focus on implications for data-driven businesses–the rapidly increasing number of businesses that rely heavily on consumer data, whether for marketing, gaining marketplace insights, internal research, or use as a core commodity.
The application of the California Consumer Protection Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) to employee data has been the subject of much debate since the first version of the bill was introduced on June 21, 2018 (just days prior to its enactment on June 28). Under a plain language reading of the CCPA, the law likely applies to employee data. However, it is unclear whether the California legislature intended that result. There is no clarity to be found in the general statutory structure, the legislative history, legislative responses to advocate letters, or the technical amendments signed into law on September 23. As part of our ongoing series on the CCPA, this post lays out why the issue of CCPA applicability to employees is controversial and nevertheless offers potential strategies to address CCPA compliance requirements as they may relate to personnel records.