Monitoring Your Employees Through GPS: What Is Legal?


Employee monitoring as working hours is changing as a result of technological advancements. Employers can now follow their work emails, chat, phone conversations, and movements using cutting-edge tracking technology. Data can be acquired and processed considerably more rapidly and discreetly than in the past. 

But let's face it, no one enjoys being watched. Whether you like it or not, GPS applications will continue to gain appeal among companies as technology progresses, especially with a global surge in mobile employees working remotely.

 This raises the question of where we should draw the line. If employee monitoring is unavoidable, how can we effectively execute it in a way that is less conflictual?

More and more legal standards are emerging when it comes to employing a GPS locating system. Employers can reduce legal risks and create a trusting workplace environment with their employees if they follow those principles. In this article, you will learn about the legal aspects of using GPS for monitoring your employees.

Best Practices for Implementing a GPS Locating System

If a business owner wants to use GPS tracking to monitor personnel, whether to increase productivity or to determine why an employee is underperforming, the employer should first examine the recommended practices listed below.

  • In the state where you want to engage in GPS tracking, get familiar with any regulations that apply to privacy expectations and GPS tracking of devices.
  • Only monitor personnel to the degree that a business necessity justifies it. There are risks connected with using GPS to track employees, including the possibility that an employee would feel his or her privacy has been violated and file a lawsuit. As a result, an employer should only engage in monitoring if the risk is outweighed by a business requirement.
  • Make sure you have a GPS tracking policy in writing. It should explain why the company is employing GPS tracking, when and how employees should expect to be tracked, and how the company will utilize and protect the information gathered.
  • Last but not least, be responsible and considerate. Only monitor employee behavior during work hours, and only track their position for a specified business objective, as per your GPS monitoring policy. Finally, make sure that any GPS-related data is securely stored.

Employers now have more access to their workers than they did in the past. While there are numerous valid business reasons for an employer to use GPS technology to monitor employees, organizations are advised to make efforts to guarantee that GPS monitoring operations do not break current laws.

GPS and the Law

So, what does the law say about the legality of employee GPS monitoring? Where’s the line between legal and illegal GPS tracking activities?

As long as your employees are notified, a business is allowed to monitor their workers' usage of business property, including: 

  • Computers
  • Mobile phones
  • The internet
  • And workplace emails

Many courts have ruled that GPS tracking is a legal method of employee monitoring. When it comes to how and when to use GPS tracking, case law shows that there are two legal principles that businesses should follow.

  1. Businesses should only track employees if they can demonstrate a legitimate reason for doing so. You could leverage GPS monitoring for your time clock software, for example, to guarantee that staff is in the right area for work. Any monitoring must be justified and pertinent to the work or activity at hand.
  2. GPS tracking should only be done during business hours. The majority of employees would be comfortable with their bosses monitoring them during work hours. After all, people should be working at that time. It's significantly more difficult to justify surveillance outside of agreed-upon working hours.

When using GPS tracking, both the employee and the company must be held accountable. Employees should educate themselves on how GPS tracking works, and companies should ensure that their GPS tracking regulations are clear and straightforward.

State-by-State GPS Tracking Laws

The following section details specific GPS tracking laws by state:

State of Washington 

While this state is known for being quite liberal in terms of social legislation, it has a positive attitude toward automobile monitoring. The ability to track a vehicle's location, speed, and movements is completely within an owner's rights.

Florida 

If the employer owns the car, he or she can utilize a GPS tracking device for legitimate business purposes. Employers must get approval before putting GPS in individually owned automobiles, however, due to concerns about employee privacy.

Texas 

According to the case of Tubbs v. Wynne, it is allowed for employers to track company-owned automobiles during working hours. If the employee owns the vehicle, however, the employer must obtain the employee's permission before using a tracking device.

Pennsylvania

When it comes to the right to privacy, businesses in Pennsylvania, like many other states, are not authorized to deploy location monitoring devices on employee-owned vehicles without their agreement. Employers, on the other hand, are permitted to put a location monitoring device on a company-owned car.

Illinois 

Employers are prohibited from placing monitoring devices on employee-owned automobiles due to privacy concerns. Employers, on the other hand, are permitted to track company-owned automobiles.

How to Introduce GPS Tracking to Your Employees?

Discuss Its Benefits

Clarify the unique benefits of GPS monitoring with your staff in addition to presenting them with strong reasons for doing so.

Your staff will no longer be required to manually complete reports, which is a task that few people enjoy at the end of the day or week. Furthermore, having all data in one place with a clear data overview enables managers to identify areas for improvement and provide constructive feedback to help mobile workers improve their productivity and results. Furthermore, real-time alerts keep managers and staff informed of any emergency or last-minute changes.

Adopt a Policy for GPS Tracking

Developing a solid corporate policy on employee monitoring is a great place to start. Its goal should be to describe all key aspects of how GPS monitoring will be implemented in your company to guarantee that it is done consistently and according to a set of regulations.

The grounds for using GPS tracking should be addressed in the policy. Whether you're using an employee location monitoring system to save money, automate time tracking, assure equal pay for equal work, solve security issues or a mix of factors, your policy should reflect and emphasize them.

Take Care of Employee Concerns

Even if you have a clear employee GPS tracking policy in place and have explained the benefits of location monitoring to your employees, they still might be concerned about GPS tracking. If this is the case, you should address their worries and do your best to educate them on the software's functionality.

Employees' top worries about location tracking are privacy, data, and battery drain if you're tracking their mobile devices. Whatever their worries may be, being open and honest with them and giving them all the information they want is the best approach to help them get past their first apprehension about having their whereabouts tracked.

Seek Employee Consent

Obtaining employee permission has two purposes: first, it guarantees compliance with federal and state regulations, and second, it improves transparency and builds confidence inside the organization. You can acquire consent by putting a clause in your employee's employment contract or having them sign a consent form.

Include a Section Dedicated to Privacy and Data Security

Different sorts of data can be collected via location tracking. Make a list of the information that is meaningful to your business and will be tracked and saved as a result. Routes, time spent at specific locations, distance traveled, overall time spent working, time spent immobile or in traffic, and so on are all examples of different data categories you should disclose.

After you've specified the data you'll track, think about how it'll be utilized and secured to eliminate any concerns about abuse. Describe the company and employee perspectives on the purpose of collecting and retaining location data. Define the benefits it will provide to both parties.

Get the Right GPS Tracking App

With Spytec GPS you can give employees peace of mind and help them perform at their best. Provide field employees with GPS technology, SOS notifications, and detailed position reports. Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions can help your business! 

 

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