By Greg Bartlett
Everywhere you go, it seems like someone is watching. Whether it is other people, security cameras, or tracking devices, very often people are being monitored. This is especially true in the workplace. Employers of trucking industries and those who drive corporate fleets seek to increase efficiency, productivity, and accountability by monitoring their drivers.
GPS monitoring of employees has become increasing popular in recent years. Employers, concerned about their company resources, seek to find a way to monitor their employees in order to increase efficiency and save costs. With GPS devices, they can now see if employees are speeding, moonlighting, making unnecessary stops, using inefficient routes, or charging excessive overtime. Since these activities increase company liability and expenses and decrease company efficiency and opportunity to effectively help customers, companies are glad to find a way to monitor employee activity.
One company in Kansas which employs a small fleet started using GPS tracking because of a few problems the employees had in the past, such as the drivers not being where they were supposed to be. Now the company can make sure that drivers are using the most efficient routes, are driving safely, and are spending an appropriate amount of time on each job. GPS monitoring has allowed the company to increase its profits and its relationship with its customers by being more reliable.
Despite the benefits of GPS monitoring, some employees are worried about privacy issues. Most of the monitoring is concerned with employee malfeasance, but employees still aren’t thrilled with the idea of constantly being watched. Employees are especially concerned about being monitored after working hours.
At this point, there have been no court decisions about the legality of GPS tracking in the workplace. Only Connecticut requires that employees be informed beforehand if they are going to be monitored electronically. However, to protect the company against lawsuits and to avoid violating employees’ privacy, employers should be careful to inform employees that they will be monitored and explain when and how that monitoring will take place. Furthermore, information gathered from monitoring should be used only for the proper purposes, namely, to monitor work-related activities.
GPS monitoring can be a useful tool for employers to increase productivity, efficiency, and profit, but it needs to be carefully balanced with employee privacy. Only when properly balanced will GPS tracking be the best option for your company.