2015 will see the broadening and deepening of the transformation of tech-related employment law.
Here are eight reasons why:
1. More data breach-related lawsuits by employees (or classes of employees).
2. Increasing attention to inside roles (intentional or otherwise) in corporate security breaches.
3. Emergence of ultra-focused spear-phishing scams against c-suite executives/high-level employees.
These are sophisticated, highly-targeted campaigns designed to get top executives to click on links or download files that will expose highly sensitive corporate data. Such campaigns will target these executives at the office, on mobile devices and at home.
4. Increasingly sophisticated ransomware targeting core employer systems.
This relates to self-replicating malware that encrypts corporate networks — and demands a fee for decryption. Beyond the obvious threat to an employer’s ability to function on many levels, such attacks may hamper core employee-related functions such as wage amd hour compliance.
5. Changing standards of care/obligations for protecting employee data.
Continuing the current trend toward increased employee-data regulation, expect many new standards from industry associations, regulators (EEOC, FTC, SEC), legislatures, courts and insurers.
6. Expanding the fiduciary-driven management of cyber risk.
Boards will continue to look more and more carefully at managing cyber risk (and relatedly, cyber risk insurance). In addition, cyber risk will increasingly involve professional risk and reputation managers, such as GCs, and will move away from being an exclusively IT role. Moreover, fiduciaries will drive employers toward more sophisticated breach response plans.
I’ve argued elsewhere about the specific need for the involvement of employment lawyers in all of these matters.
7. More sophisticated role for big data in so-called “routine” employment litigation matters.
8. Exponentially increasing pools of employee data.
As new technologies increasingly enter the workplace, especially the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), employment lawyers will need to be active participants in dealing with the massive amounts data that is produced. Privacy and security concerns related to IoT will be of particular concern, as will e-discovery given both the quantities of the data that will be produced and the fact that there is not yet a standard format for that data.
Bonus trends: cyber resiliency… terabyte phones…