4 Types of GPS Tracking and Employee Privacy

August 24, 2017 Published by

GPS tracking technology is amazing and advances in technology, including the size of tracking devices and the expanded, uses that tracking allows means that use of GPS has become part of many people’s lives, especially if they own any type of smartphone or tablet. But with all of these advances including in your ability to track your employees using GPS tracking, questions of privacy continue to crop up.

So as an employer or business owner what are the limits if any on your ability to use GPS tracking when it comes to employees and what does the law allow you to track? Yes, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects against unreasonable search and seizure, but that protection only protects individuals from government actions.

  1. Personal Tracking: Tracking your employees is possible, but a sticky area both legally and in gaining or keeping the trust of your employees. There are employers and industries, like taxi services or trucking, where employers need to track employees whereabouts, even employees who own their vehicles. Often the tracking is done through an app installed on a smartphone. Usually, this kind of tracking is ok if the device is a company owned device and if an employer only tracks GPS during working hours. However, laws vary by state, so what’s legal in one part of the US, might not be ok where you’re located.
  2. Employee Owned Vehicles: In most cases, you can’t place a GPS tracking device on your employees’ vehicles even when they use their personal vehicles for work. Again, the law is unclear and there’s no Federal law prohibiting it. However, depending on what state you’re in, it might be illegal or a judge might have ruled that it violates an employee’s basic right to privacy. The good news is there are other ways to protect your business and use GPS tracking that don’t involve using your employee’s property like their personal phone or vehicle.
  3. Fleet Tracking: When it’s your own property, including your company-owned vehicles, the law is a little clearer. You’re allowed to know where your property is. Where things get a little vague is if your employee is allowed to use a company vehicle during their off hours. Increasingly in the trucking industry, employees who drive company owned vehicles, vs owner-operators, aren’t allowed to drive a company truck during their off hours but must park it on company property and arrange their own transportation. But that’s not always the case and in industries where the vehicle is a car, most employers choose to switch the tracking device off when it’s not the employee’s shift.
  4. Asset Tracking: Just like with fleet tracking, because you own the assets, such as a trailer or piece of equipment, you’re within your rights to track those assets. Your employee usually isn’t going to take assets home with them outside of business hours, so employee privacy issues usually don’t come into play. Again, you need to check the laws in your state.

When it comes to GPS tracking to protect your business, when your employees are at work, using your vehicles and your equipment, you’re within your rights as an employer to using tracking devices on your vehicles and your other assets like trailers and equipment. When it comes to tracking an employee in their own vehicle or using their personal cell phone, things get a bit trickier and it’s a good idea to check the laws in your state first.

GPS fleet tracking and GPS asset tracking are both legal and are excellent solutions for you and your business to ensure you’re protected from theft and misuse of your company equipment and vehicles. If you’re interested in GPS tracking for your business assets and vehicles, contact GPS Technologies today.

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This post was written by Malcolm Rosenfeld

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