Client Resources, Supply Chain Trends

Is It Legal to Monitor Employees with GPS?

GPS technology and other recent innovations like the “Internet of Things” gives logistics companies the ability to monitor their entire supply chain and improve overall efficiency. On the other hand, does this constant tracking of employees raise any legal issues for your organization? The answer depends on the nature of the tracking and other issues, including your state.

Let’s take a closer look at how this issue affects supply chain companies doing business today.

There Must Be a Legitimate Business Reason for Employee Tracking

A business legal expert feels a legitimate business rationale must exist to implement GPS tracking of on-the-clock employees. Some of the stated reasons definitely relate to supply chain companies hoping to make their operations more efficient. These include tracking response time, improving route efficiency, timekeeping records, as well as increasing company safety and productivity.

Unfortunately, the laws surrounding this issue vary from state to state. For example, in Texas employers are allowed to leverage GPS tracking for company-owned vehicles, but must first receive permission from the employee to install a tracking device in the employee’s own car. This obviously won’t be an issue for most logistics firms that own their own transportation fleet.

In any case, the lawyer recommends that your organization gives clear notice when GPS tracking is used in a company vehicle. Some verbiage in the employee handbook combined with a notification sticker on the dashboard of the vehicle will probably suffice. Make sure the statement includes a phrase similar to the following: “there should be no expectation of privacy when using company-owned equipment and/or vehicles.”

Make sure you limit any tracking to working hours and activities, and seek legal advice concerning the specifics of employee tracking laws in your state. Ultimately, considering the importance of efficiency regarding supply chain operations, GPS-based tracking generally isn’t an issue provided it happens during company hours.

Other Forms of Employee Tracking

Some companies have begun to install dashboard cameras in their transportation fleet to help combat texting and other forms of distracted driving. Earlier this decade, OSHA issued a decree noting that businesses have the: “responsibility and legal obligation to create and maintain a safe and healthful workplace, and that would include having a clear, unequivocal and enforced policy against the hazard of texting while driving.”

This seems to give permission for the use of dash cams to help prevent distracted driving. However, supply chain companies that force employees to text while driving to stay in contact with workplace themselves are in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Once again, seek legal advice regarding the specificity of employee tracking laws in your state.

If your organization needs additional insight on building a top-notch logistics team, talk to the experts at ZDA. As one of the top supply chain staffing agencies in the country, we offer the business insight and vetted candidates to make a difference for your business. Schedule some time with us today!

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