In our technologically-driven world, many California employers have the ability to monitor their employees’ whereabouts through the use of GPS – but does that mean they should?
GPS tracking has been a reality for several years. Through the use of GPS devices in vehicles, employers have been able to keep track of their employees’ locations while on the road. Now, thanks to new apps and more advanced technology, employers can do the same thing through employees’ smartphones, providing the employer with even more information about where the employee is and when. While GPS tracking certainly has its benefits, employers do need to be aware of the associated risks in order to appropriately evaluate whether these potential pluses outweigh the significant minuses.
Benefits of GPS Tracking
Why would a business want to track its employees whereabouts? Here are a few reasons:
- Monitoring overtime and compliance with labor laws.
- Reducing employer liability by confirming that employees are not speeding or otherwise violating traffic laws.
- Verifying that time records are accurate and company policies are followed.
- If an employee is suspected of wrongdoing, an employer can use GPS tracking as part of its internal investigation of the employee.
This list is not exhaustive. Discuss the benefits of GPS tracking in detail with an experienced business attorney.
Risks Associated with GPS Tracking
Not surprisingly, there are legal downsides to monitoring an employee’s whereabouts, including privacy issues. While an employer may not want to inform its employees that GPS tracking is in place, state law may require it. Certainly, the issue of tracking employees’ personal vehicles and smartphones is a tricky issue.
One court recently held that installing a GPS device on a vehicle personally owned by a state employee suspected of falsifying time records was an unreasonable search.
Best Practices for GPS tracking
Before a business owner employs GPS tracking to monitor employees, it is important to discuss your employment policies with a knowledgeable business attorney. These policies should include a written GPS tracking policy that clearly outlines the business reasons for using GPS tracking, when and how employees should expect to be monitored and how the employer will use and safeguard data collected.
For more information on potential legal issues relating to GPS tracking in the workplace, contact business attorney Drew E. Pomerance today.