Technological leap has influenced several fields in the society; today, almost all notable sectors use Global Positioning Systems. The costs of GPS trackers have decreased relatively, because of the tracking device market booming. Available at affordable prices, these devices are widely installed in company vehicles and smartphones as well as in other employer-owned properties to track the whereabouts of employees.
Employee Monitoring: An Introduction
Employee tracking allows executives to keep a track of employees’ engagement with their work. A company employing staff monitoring can improve the overall productivity, track attendance, and enhance the security of the workplace. Such an invaluable technology allows employers to closely monitor employees’ activities. Some common aspects of employee surveillance include:
- Internet use
- Keylogging or keyboard capturing
- Phone calls
- Audio surveillance
- GPS tracking by vehicle
- Location tracking by wearable devices
With more and more companies espousing Global Positioning Systems to track employees’ activities, the growing discontent among employees is steadily intensifying and the concerns over privacy rights are rapidly rising. Under such circumstances, it is essential for employees/employers to be conversant with the laws of employee monitoring to mitigate the challenges associated with it.
Employee GPS Tracking and Staff Resistance
Employee GPS tracking has spurred vehement oppositions from staff members. Several ethical questions are raised against such a violation of privacy rights. With the growing discontent among workers, the necessity of a comprehensive policy on electronic surveillance has become indispensable. A company must develop an infallible policy and comply with its directives. Before giving consent to such policies, employees must bust be aware of their rights. It is legitimate to monitor employees’ movements within the working hours if they are accessing employee-owned assets. However, it is crucial to understand when to draw the line. It is certainly unacceptable to track employees’ whereabouts after the working hours even if they carry GPS-enabled gadgets with them.
Employees’ Checklist of Issues
What should the employees be vigilant about? When it comes to corporate GPS tracking, there are a number of concerns which the workers much take into considerations before consenting to the company policy. Here is a list of things that employees must be aware of corporate GPS tracking:
- Employee tracking within the working hours is legally acceptable. In countries like Australia, China, the U.S., and European countries, it is legitimate to monitor employees’ use of the company’s properties, such as tablets, phones, laptops, and vehicles, as long as the employees are comfortable with the policies. However, GPS tracking is considered an acceptable form of surveillance if the employees are monitored within the working hours. Tracking employees during their shift can be accommodated but any form of surveillance beyond the specific working hours is problematic.
- GPS tracking is justifiable if there are a definite business objective and purpose of such surveillance. Any type of it is admissible if it is relevant and takes into account the concerns of the employees.
- According to the GPS tracking laws, company-owned properties can be monitored by authorities. This also includes company vehicles; companies can install monitoring devices in their cars and no special consent is needed from employees. Whether it is a tablet, laptop or phone, employers can monitor these company-owned systems to track mails, call lists, and employees’ whereabouts, provided the tracking is done within the working shift.
- When it comes to employees’ personal properties, such as laptops and cars, tracking is unjustified without the employees’ consent. Companies cannot discreetly monitor employee’s personal belongings. Unless a special draft is obtained which clearly states the workers’ consent, surveillance of private properties is impermissible.
- The company practicing employee tracking must accommodate a proper legal policy, clearly mentioning the relevant information, from the nature of tracking to tracking objectives. All the information must be communicated to the employees before the tracking devices are implemented.
A Written Policy
Employees must be acquainted with a written policy if a company implements surveillance systems. Before agreeing to the terms and conditions of the legal policy, it is important to have a clear idea about how a legal draft should look like. Some key features of a reliable policy are listed below:
- The draft should be written in simple language, directly addressing the rules and regulations.
- It must feature information like how frequently the monitoring will be done, the nature of surveillance, business objectives, etc.
- The policy must state the legal provisions.
- Above everything else, the policy must provide employees with information regarding what they should do if they find the regulations are being violated.
Despite the growing discontent among a large section of the community, GPS tracking has been successfully adopted by companies, both start-ups, and giant corporate chains, for their many worthwhile features. To avoid any legal confusion, both employees and employers are recommended to gather sufficient insight into the laws associated with such tracking. Employees, in particular, must be aware their legal rights to avoid any abuse or misconduct in future.