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Counsel’s Corner: California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 May Not Include Employee in Definition of Consumer

On May 29, the California Assembly passed a bill that amends the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and excludes employees from the definition of “consumer.”  

The purpose of CCPA is to give consumers the right to know about the data that companies collect relating to them. CCPA requires that companies explain to consumers why they are collecting their data and if they are sharing it with anyone.  Additionally, CCPA gives consumers the right to require that companies delete their data and not distribute it or sell it. 

Under the proposed CCPA, a “consumer” is defined as a natural person who is a California resident. Initial interpretations of the CCPA stated that the definition of consumer included employees. California State Assembly Bill 25 amends the CCPA by providing that:

“Consumer does not include a natural person whose personal information has been collected by a business in the course of a person acting as a job applicant to, an employee of, a contractor of, or an agent on behalf of the business, to the extent the person’s personal information is collected and used solely within the context of the person’s role as a job applicant to, an employee of, a contractor of, or an agent on behalf of, the business.”

Assembly Bill 25 is currently in the California State Senate under review. If the Senate passes the bill and it is signed by the governor, it will relieve employers of the potential obligations they were facing under the law as originally drafted as it removes employee information from the CCPA’s definition of consumer.

Removing employee from the definition of consumer will significantly reduce employer obligations under CCPA which takes effect on January 1, 2020. Companies will be able to focus on creating policy focusing on CCPA compliance for consumers while maintaining programs designed to comply with current employee privacy protection laws.

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