• Tracking employees’ locations and activity through Personal GPS Tracking Devices



     With the rise in GPS technology, employers have unprecedented access to their employees’ whereabouts. For several years, employers have been able to track their field or mobile employees’ locations through GPS devices in vehicles. But tracking presents risks employers need to understand so they can evaluate whether the potential benefits outweigh the significant risks. 


    Tracking employees’ locations and activity through Personal GPS Tracking Devices can have many benefits for a business, including: Fostering increased efficiency through streamlined travel for delivery or other mobile employees. Monitoring overtime and compliance with labor laws. Ensuring compliance with safety regulations by confirming that employees are not speeding or otherwise violating traffic laws. Verifying that time records are accurate, company policies are followed and employees are engaging in safe behavior. Moreover, if an employee is suspected of wrongdoing, an employer can use GPS tracking as part of its internal investigation of the employee.
    However, before an employer begins using Personal GPS Homing Device to monitor employees, it should consider the related legal ramifications and employee privacy issues. Employers should also implement best practices for complying with the law and ensuring that employee trust is not breached.
    Monitoring employee vehicles
    First, an employer should consider any state laws applicable to GPS tracking of individuals. For example, an Illinois statute enacted in 2014 makes it a criminal misdemeanor to use GPS tracking to monitor the location of a vehicle without the vehicle owner’s consent, unless the tracking is lawfully done by a law enforcement agency. 
    An employer does not violate this law by tracking the location of a company-owned vehicle used by its employees, because the employer (the vehicle’s owner) consents to the tracking. However, an employer is not permitted to install a GPS tracking device in an employee-owned vehicle without the employee’s consent. Other states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware and Texas, also have laws that specifically apply to GPS tracking.
    Second, an employer should consider state tort laws that it may violate if it tracks employees without their knowledge or consent, such as invasion of privacy. Several courts have held that where an employer attaches a GPS tracking device to an employer-owned vehicle, an employee driving that vehicle is not able to state a claim for invasion of privacy when the employer tracks the whereabouts of the vehicle. 
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