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Is it Legal tracking employees through GPS?

Posted by Michelle J. on 5/22/2017

Is it Legal tracking employees through GPS?

The increasing use of GPS technology parallels to employers' extraordinary access to their employees' locations with the help of GPS tracking. While this phenomenon isn't new, advancements in GPS technology have extended access beyond employees' vehicles to employees' smartphones. However, the ability to track your employees may come with inherent legal risks. Here's what you need to know.

Benefits of Tracking Employees via GPS

There are several benefits associated with tracking your employees via GPS, including being an efficient way to keep track of overtime hours for mobile employees, including your security staff, for labor law compliance and promoting maximizing efficiency via unified travel for mobile employees or for delivery of products. GPS tracking also fosters safety compliance and accuracy of time sheets. For instance, you can use GPS tracking to verify that your mobile workers are following local traffic laws, including speed limits. Additionally, you can use GPS tracking via a guard tour solution to help track the location of employees on foot, such as security guards, to ensure that everyone You can also use GPS tracking as a time record verification method if you must investigate your mobile employees' whereabouts.

Take Care

It's vital to consider any legal consequences from invading your workers' right to privacy. While the right of privacy may not be an expressed federal law, some states have expressed laws. For instance, Florida and Washington are just two of the 11 states that require a two-party consent when recording audio and states, such as Illinois and Indiana, require law enforcement to obtain warrants for real-time geolocation information from cellphones. Moreover, an employee's expectation of privacy can make a difference in whether or not any legal risks are increased. For example, GPS tracking may be expected on a delivery vehicle since the human eye and local cameras can spot a location of the truck. However, this may not be the case if an employee's personal smartphone device's location is being tracked.

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Employee Tracking Best Practices

While tracking employees' locations GPS-enabled vehicles or accessories is certainly an option you can take, keeping track of employee smartphones often provides a more precise location. That's because people tend to have their mobile phones on them more often than not and are even within five feet of their mobile phones. Tracking your security staff's location via a smartphone can be beneficial especially when your security guards are on high alert from aggressive trespassers. However, you want to ensure that you are not crossing any lines and invading your employees' privacy. Here are some key best practices to consider:

  • Limit data collection to necessary information that impacts job performance.
  • Limit GPS tracking on common properties, such as the condominium, company or community property your security staff is guarding.
  • Create awareness of GPS tracking procedures prior to implementation and obtain consent/acceptance of company equipment.
  • Clarify what to expect, including what is being tracked.
  • Limit access to data collection from tracked smartphones and other devices to staff that have legitimate business reasons to know.

Final Thoughts

The legalities surrounding whether or not GPS tracking of employees depends on local laws, the expectation of the right of privacy and how the information is being used. Using a guard patrol control or guard tour control solution to track the geolocation of your mobile employees and security staff can help to increase their safety and the safety of the people they protect, especially in a dangerous situation. However, it's important to be privy to local laws regarding right of privacy to ensure you're in legal compliance. It's also vital to practice best practices, such as making employees aware of the GPS tracking policies and getting them to use company smartphones and equipment, so that you're reducing your risk of legal ramifications.