Can companies use new technology to make sure workers are where they’re supposed to be and getting their jobs done? Here’s a case where that practiced started a court battle.
An employee became president of the company’s union. Soon after that, he learned the employer had installed a GPS tracking device in his company vehicle.
The company claims it was because he wasn’t properly recording the time he spent working. But he says it was to punish him for his union activity. No other employees were being tracked, so he’s arguing he was singled out.
Consistency is key
The issue here doesn’t seem to be whether or not a company is allowed to keep close tabs on employee whereabouts – in fact, courts have found it OK when company’s install tracking devices on their own cars and other company property. Some state and local privacy laws may prohibit such tracking, but there’s nothing on the federal books against it.
The question is whether or not the tracking was done in retaliation against the man’s protected activity. And given the timing, it’s likely going to be an uphill battle for the employer. We’ll keep you posted as it develops.