The Quantified Worker
with Berkman Klein Fellow, Ifeoma Ajunwa
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
What are the rights of the worker in a society that seems to privilege technological innovation over equality and privacy? How does the law protect worker privacy and dignity given technological advancements that allow for greater surveillance of workers? What can we expect for the future of work; should privacy be treated as merely an economic good that could be exchanged for the benefit of employment?
I am currently a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard for the 2016-2017 year. I will be an Assistant Professor at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School (ILR), (with affiliations in Sociology and Law) starting July, 2017.
I hold a Ph.D. from the Sociology Department of Columbia University in the City of New York (emphasis on Organizational Theory and Law and Society). My doctoral research on reentry was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
I am interested in how the law and private firms respond to job applicants or employees perceived as “risky.” I look at the legal parameters for the assessment of such risk and also the organizational behavior in pursuit of risk reduction by private firms. I examine the sociological processes in regards to how such risk is constructed and the discursive ways such risk assessment is deployed in the maintenance of inequality. I also examine ethical issues arising from how firms off-set risk to employees.
My dissertation was an ethnography of a reentry organization that catered to the formerly incarcerated. In the sum of my published research, I’ve focused on three populations: 1) the formerly incarcerated, 2) carriers of genetic disease, and, 3) workers with perceived unhealthy lifestyles (obesity, smoking, etc.). Thus, my research is at the intersection of organizational theory, management/business law, privacy, health law, and antidiscrimination law.
My most recent article, Limitless Worker Surveillance, with Kate Crawford and Jason Schultz is forthcoming from the California Law Review. The Article has been downloaded more than 2,000 times on SSRN and was endorsed by the NYTimes Editorial Board. In addition to the California Law Review, my articles have been published in the Harvard Business Review, the Fordham Law Review, the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, the Ohio State Law Review, and in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, among others.
I have a book contract with Cambridge University Press for a book (“The Quantified Worker,” forthcoming 2018) that will examine the role of technology in the workplace and its effects on management practices as moderated by employment and privacy laws.
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