The Law of Employee Data: Privacy, Property, Governance

69 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2021 Last revised: 24 Apr 2021

See all articles by Matthew T. Bodie

Matthew T. Bodie

University of Minnesota Law School


The availability of data related to the employment relationship has ballooned into an unruly mass of personal characteristics, performance metrics, biometric recordings, and creative output. The law governing this collection of information has been awkwardly split between privacy regulations and intellectual property rights, with employees generally losing on both ends. This Article rejects a binary approach that either carves out private spaces ineffectually or renders data into isolated pieces of ownership. Instead, the law should implement a hybrid system that provides workers with continuing input and control without blocking efforts at joint production. In addition, employers should have fiduciary responsibilities in managing employee data, and workers should have collective governance rights over the data’s collection and use.

Keywords: employee data, employee privacy, data privacy, intellectual property, big data, algorithmic management

JEL Classification: J24, J83, K11, K31

Suggested Citation

Bodie, Matthew T., The Law of Employee Data: Privacy, Property, Governance. Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 97, 2021-2022, Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2021-14, Available at SSRN:

Matthew T. Bodie (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

United States

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