A thermal technology-based device called CarePoint, a touchless punch clock, has been brought into account by a tech company named Ascentis that keeps a check on employees’ temperature.

With the continuous increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, making employees feel safer at the workplace is on top of the priority list. Such initiatives are put forth by Ascentis, a company that deals with the technology for human resources functions like payroll and clocking in, currently holds a strength of 72 employees in its Eden Prairie-based office.

“Workplace safety will continue to remain a top priority for organizations as the country starts to reopen their businesses in the coming weeks and months,” Ascentis CEO Brian Provost said in a statement. “It’s imperative for companies to embrace our new normal by creating a safer work environment,” he added.

Troy Thibodeau, Chief Marketing Officer of Ascentis, reported that CarePoint was already under development, but was pushed more to face the pandemic situations.

The CarePoint works by recognizing the faces of employees at the start of each workday to scan them in. At the same time, a thermal scanner, which the company says is accurate up to 0.5 °C takes the temperature of the employee. If that temperature exceeds an employer-set threshold, indicating a fever, a notification will be sent to the human resources teams, which may take additional steps, as necessary.

Several HR system providers making similar pitches

Clear, the company best known for airport checkpoint systems, is selling its thermal scanner, while companies like PwC and UnitedHealth are providing apps that allow workers to screen for symptoms or warn them if they’ve been near to another worker who’s tested positive.

Thermal scanning has adversaries to it. The American Civil Liberties Union cautioned against the use of temperature-taking technologies because it could lead to a false sense of security and that it could lead to further staff surveillance. Thibodeau claimed that some workers were already demanding the device.

Another challenge faced is that even before any person develops a fever after infected by a coronavirus, he can prove to be contagious. The person may not show any symptoms at all even after running a temperature, thus making thermal scan a limited tool.

Thibodeau said that the device has already been sold to some customers since the installation of the CarePoint started in June 2020. Taking employee temperatures was once illegal in the workplace, but it is permitted for the moment because of new guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Yet, Ascentis is also adamant that the CarePoint is more than just thermal scanning, which can go away almost as quickly as it has come.

“We’re not certain it’s going to be legal forever,” Thibodeau said.