Illegal Practices with Time Tracking

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Monitoring the employees can be quite a risky activity. How far can you go when using time tracking software? This is the question that concerns both employers and employees and definitely needs paying attention on it.

First of all, when the employer wants to use time tracking with GPS, he should check what the law says about tracking individuals. GPS time tracking can be done in two different ways – installing GPS app in the employee’s smart phone or through GPS device in the vehicle, driven by the employee. And here comes the tricky moment! If the employer is tracking a company-owned vehicle in order to monitor the employee and verify that time records are accurate for instance, then there is no need to inform the employee that the vehicle has installed GPS time tracking system. However, if the vehicle is owned by the employee and he uses it to in his work, then the employer has the right to install GPS time tracking system only with the knowledge and agreement of the owner of the vehicle – the employee.

In some US states, however, it is considered that the employer violates employee’s privacy if he installs GPS software in a company-owned vehicle in order to monitor the employee. In the state of Illinois it is obligatory for the employer to inform the employee there is GPS time tracking system in the company used vehicle. In New York City is also considered to illegal and unreasonable to monitor the employee’ owned vehicle that he uses for work. The explanation is simple – through this GPS system the employee is been monitored not only in his working hours, but also in his free time.

The topic about tracking the employees via an app installed in their smart phones is even less clear. In fact, just 2 years ago a woman was fired from work because she uninstalled the GPS app from her smart phone. Of course, she sued the company and she won the case. We have to mention that the specific smart phone was given by the employer to the employee with the instruction it should be always turned on. This means the employer has been tracking the off-duty activities of the employees. So is installing GPS app to monitor the employees violates their privacy?

If the employer wants to benefit from GPS time tracking in order to maximize the efficiency of work, there are some principles he should follow. On the first place, he should be informed about the country or state regulations about GPS tracking of vehicles or smart phones of employees. Also, it is recommended to use GPS monitoring only in company-owned vehicles or smart phones. Moreover, he has to inform the employee that he is been monitored via time tracking software. Very important factor is to monitor the employee only to extent that is related to work. For sure, the employer needs a GPS tracking policy – the employee should know what the purpose of monitoring is, when and in what way he will be tracked and how the safeguard data will be used.

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