03 Jun Is Employee Tracking Legal?
In my last post, I wrote about tracking employees using GPS. How many of you wondered if that’s LEGAL?
Employees who are constantly on the move – salesmen, delivery guys, drivers, etc may think they have more freedom than their colleague who has a desk job. With the decreasing costs of GPS technologies, both in company vehicles and handheld devices may be changing that, giving employers new ways to keep track of their employees. As a result, concerns over employee privacy are on the rise.
Many employees have filed legal suits on their employers for intruding into their private space. In some cases, the employee was relieved, but in most cases, the employer walked out guilt free.
So, are there any legalities an employer should be aware of before handing out the GPS device to their mobile workforce? Well.. the answer is Yes!
Monitoring employees using GPS tracking devices have been approved by the courts. The rationale being: Workplace surveillance is completely legal and common. If the workplace is the car or other location, shouldn’t bosses have a way to monitor their employees?
Having said that, firstly, employers should draw a line between work and personal time. The key to keeping track of employees using GPS is to do so only when the employees are supposed to be working not to track his whereabouts after business hours if he takes his GPS-enabled device home with him regularly. There should always be a legit business reason for tracking employees’ movements using GPS technology.
Secondly, the employer should get a written consent form acknowledged and signed by the employee. This consent form will act as a valid document should the employee be found guilty of any professional misconduct.
Lastly and the most important of all – having a mention of electronic surveillance, tracking of employees using GPS in your policy handbook. Additionally, such a policy should remind workers that the GPS technology provided by the company belongs to the company and are only to be used for work. At the same time, the employee should clearly mention that the company reserves the right to use the GPS in devices provided to workers to keep tabs on them during work hours.