In this day and age it has become fairly commonplace for a company to have some sort of GPS tracking of its fleets or even employees who are in the field during work hours. It’s not normally the sort of thing that I write about very much, but recently a particular case has been gaining a lot of attention and has culminated in a lawsuit that is likely to make the courts finally set a rule for tracking employees.
The lawsuit itself maintains that companies should not be allowed to track employees while not on the clock and that it is an intrusion and violation of privacy. According to the plaintiff, she was required to download a tracking app to her device for work purposes, and was also required to keep the device on her person at all times for client calls. When her supervisor bragged that he was tracking her speed and location while off the clock, she deactivated the app and was summarily reprimanded and terminated.
The lawsuit has been brought forward in California and the plaintiff, Myrna Arias, is suing her former employer Intermex. The suit claims violation of the right to privacy and California labor laws, unfair business practices and wrongful termination and seeks damages in excess of $500,000.
Personally, I can completely understand tracking company vehicles and other company property, but tracking employees—especially when they are not on the clock—does seem like a bit of a breach of proper conduct to me. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what precedence is set, as I don’t believe there are currently any formal restrictions on GPS tracking of employees.
What do you think? Is is okay to track employees via GPS whether they are on the clock or not? Or is the plaintiff simply making a mountain out of a molehill? Share your thoughts in the comments!