Anna Ginès, Director of the Institute of Labor Studies (IEL), talks about the group's projects, recent activities and future plans. What is the ultimate goal of the IEL? The ESADE Institute of Labor Studies (IEL) focuses on analyzing the labor market and labor relations. The aim is to generate useful knowledge to advance toward an employment model that is based on quality of life at work and respect for people in a sustainable growth environment. To achieve this goal, the IEL has four main lines of research: 1. New technologies and employment relationships: The IEL studies the disruptive impact of new technologies on labor relations. Specifically, it focuses on the rise of work through digital platforms and its consequences in terms of the creation of new forms of work and decentralized production, such as crowdsourcing or on-demand work. 2. Occupational health and safety: This line includes business obligations to prevent occupational risks and promote health in the workplace, as well as corporate liability for non-compliance with the relevant regulations. 3. Comparative labor law: The study of other labor-law systems and cooperation with prestigious academics and professionals from universities and international organizations allows us to analyze internationally important labor law institutions from a comparative perspective. That, in turn, enables the development of proposals de lege ferenda or for the jurisprudential interpretation of Spanish regulations. 4. Economic analysis of labor law: The IEL's research combines legal and dogmatic analysis with economic theory techniques and methodologies as a formula for studying labor law in greater depth. Far from subordinating the legal system to a business perspective, the use of economic analytical methods to study the law makes it possible to assess the impact and/or effectiveness of legal norms through statistical analysis and the study of the incentives that different standards provide to the various players. The use of big data, intelligent technology and algorithms in the workplace pose new legal challenges What are your plans for the next academic year? In the next academic year, the IEL plans to launch a new line of research on algorithms and labor relations. Specifically, it will seek to analyze the legal implications of the use of big data, intelligent technology, and algorithms in the workplace and, in particular, for profiling and automating decision-making in labor relations. Collecting data on workers' skills, aptitudes, knowledge, characteristics, or performance will allow companies to use big data, intelligent technology, and algorithms to create profiles and automate business decisions. Management decisions, such as personnel selection, hiring, salary setting, task assignment, promotions, or even dismissals, can be automated through the use of algorithms that consider variables intended to improve the company's productivity and competitiveness. Thus, the use of this technology affords valuable business opportunities, enabling better use and allocation of both material and personal resources, and boosts the company's competitiveness and productivity. However, the use of this technology in the workplace also poses new legal challenges, which must be studied in depth from a cross-disciplinary and multidisciplinary perspective encompassing labor law, commercial law, business ethics, and business innovation. First, it raises new legal challenges regarding the possible violation of workers' fundamental rights. For example, the introduction of biased variables in the algorithm may violate the right to equality and non-discrimination. It also poses challenges from the perspective of personal data protection, since the European General Data Protection Regulation restricts automated decision-making and profiling. Finally, it gives rise to new challenges in terms of business ethics, as it is essential to address the issues of businesses' obligations of transparency, negotiation, and responsibility in data processing, profiling, and automated decision-making in the context of labor relations. In this context, this future research area aims to determine how profiling and automated decision-making based on algorithms in the workplace should be included in the current regulatory framework. In other words, it seeks to identify the assumptions, procedures, and legal conditions needed for profiling and automated decision-making using algorithms in the workplace to comply with current regulations and law. Specifically, it will determine the existing business obligations in this context in terms of non-discrimination, personal data protection, transparency, negotiation with workers, and responsibility. How is your group contributing to improve labor law?Our research improves labor law by offering proposals de lege ferenda and for potential interpretation criteria regarding legal and judicial controversies related to the application or interpretation of labor regulations.For example, with regard to platform work and the judicial controversy surrounding platform workers' legal status (employees vs. independent contractors), our group's research has staked out a clear position in favor of their classification as employees or workers. Furthermore, it has sought to offer arguments and legal criteria to defend that position from a legal perspective.How will you bridge the gap between research and practice? IEL holds seminars and conferences as a way to bridge the gap between research and practice by transferring the results of our research to the scientific community and stakeholders at large. Each year, IEL and InfoJobs also publish a joint report on the status of the labor market, which has a very significant impact on this gap between research and practice. Finally, IEL members also participate in the public debate regarding labor issues, contributing through opinion pieces and interviews in different media.

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"We will analyze the legal implications of big data in the workplace"

11/2018

Anna Ginès, Director of the Institute of Labor Studies (IEL), talks about the group's projects, recent activities and future plans.


What is the ultimate goal of the IEL?


The ESADE Institute of Labor Studies (IEL) focuses on analyzing the labor market and labor relations. The aim is to generate useful knowledge to advance toward an employment model that is based on quality of life at work and respect for people in a sustainable growth environment. To achieve this goal, the IEL has four main lines of research:


1. New technologies and employment relationships: The IEL studies the disruptive impact of new technologies on labor relations. Specifically, it focuses on the rise of work through digital platforms and its consequences in terms of the creation of new forms of work and decentralized production, such as crowdsourcing or on-demand work.


2. Occupational health and safety: This line includes business obligations to prevent occupational risks and promote health in the workplace, as well as corporate liability for non-compliance with the relevant regulations.


3. Comparative labor law: The study of other labor-law systems and cooperation with prestigious academics and professionals from universities and international organizations allows us to analyze internationally important labor law institutions from a comparative perspective. That, in turn, enables the development of proposals de lege ferenda or for the jurisprudential interpretation of Spanish regulations.


4. Economic analysis of labor law: The IEL's research combines legal and dogmatic analysis with economic theory techniques and methodologies as a formula for studying labor law in greater depth. Far from subordinating the legal system to a business perspective, the use of economic analytical methods to study the law makes it possible to assess the impact and/or effectiveness of legal norms through statistical analysis and the study of the incentives that different standards provide to the various players.


The use of big data, intelligent technology and algorithms in the workplace pose new legal challenges


What are your plans for the next academic year?


In the next academic year, the IEL plans to launch a new line of research on algorithms and labor relations. Specifically, it will seek to analyze the legal implications of the use of big data, intelligent technology, and algorithms in the workplace and, in particular, for profiling and automating decision-making in labor relations.


Collecting data on workers' skills, aptitudes, knowledge, characteristics, or performance will allow companies to use big data, intelligent technology, and algorithms to create profiles and automate business decisions. Management decisions, such as personnel selection, hiring, salary setting, task assignment, promotions, or even dismissals, can be automated through the use of algorithms that consider variables intended to improve the company's productivity and competitiveness. Thus, the use of this technology affords valuable business opportunities, enabling better use and allocation of both material and personal resources, and boosts the company's competitiveness and productivity.


However, the use of this technology in the workplace also poses new legal challenges, which must be studied in depth from a cross-disciplinary and multidisciplinary perspective encompassing labor law, commercial law, business ethics, and business innovation. First, it raises new legal challenges regarding the possible violation of workers' fundamental rights. For example, the introduction of biased variables in the algorithm may violate the right to equality and non-discrimination. It also poses challenges from the perspective of personal data protection, since the European General Data Protection Regulation restricts automated decision-making and profiling. Finally, it gives rise to new challenges in terms of business ethics, as it is essential to address the issues of businesses' obligations of transparency, negotiation, and responsibility in data processing, profiling, and automated decision-making in the context of labor relations.


In this context, this future research area aims to determine how profiling and automated decision-making based on algorithms in the workplace should be included in the current regulatory framework. In other words, it seeks to identify the assumptions, procedures, and legal conditions needed for profiling and automated decision-making using algorithms in the workplace to comply with current regulations and law. Specifically, it will determine the existing business obligations in this context in terms of non-discrimination, personal data protection, transparency, negotiation with workers, and responsibility.


How is your group contributing to improve labor law?


Our research improves labor law by offering proposals de lege ferenda and for potential interpretation criteria regarding legal and judicial controversies related to the application or interpretation of labor regulations.


For example, with regard to platform work and the judicial controversy surrounding platform workers' legal status (employees vs. independent contractors), our group's research has staked out a clear position in favor of their classification as employees or workers. Furthermore, it has sought to offer arguments and legal criteria to defend that position from a legal perspective.


How will you bridge the gap between research and practice?


IEL holds seminars and conferences as a way to bridge the gap between research and practice by transferring the results of our research to the scientific community and stakeholders at large. Each year, IEL and InfoJobs also publish a joint report on the status of the labor market, which has a very significant impact on this gap between research and practice. Finally, IEL members also participate in the public debate regarding labor issues, contributing through opinion pieces and interviews in different media.

More Knowledge
Acoso sexual y acoso por razón de sexo en la Ley Orgánica de Igualdad: prevención y responsabilidad empresarial
Ginès Fabrellas, Anna
In Trabajo, género e igualdad: un estudio jurídico-laboral tras diez años de la aprobación de la LO 3/2007 para la igualdad efectiva de mujeres y hombres
Cizur Menor (Spain): Thomson Aranzadi, 2018
p. 295 - 368
Estudios (Aranzadi);
Diez retos del trabajo en plataformas digitales para el ordenamiento jurídico-laboral español
Ginès Fabrellas, Anna
Estudios Financieros. Revista de Trabajo y Seguridad Social. Comentarios, Casos Prácticos. Recursos Humanos
Nº 425-426, 09/2018, p. 89 - 111
Responsabilidad compartida INSS y Mutua en orden al pago de prestaciones por incapacidad permanente y muerte y supervivencia derivadas de enfermedad profesional
Ginès Fabrellas, Anna; Peña Moncho, Juan
Trabajo y Derecho: Nueva Revista de Actualidad y Relaciones Laborales
Nº 45, 09/2018, p. 86 - 95
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