If your business has many mobile employees traveling to various working sites, modern GPS-tracking solutions can significantly improve your business efficiency.
However, implementing this technology requires having an employee GPS tracking policy in place.
Keeping track of your employees' miles to reimburse their expenses fairly while taking control of your company's costs are just some of the reasons worth mentioning.
Still, GPS tracking can raise legal concerns when it comes to employees' personal privacy and data protection.
So, to implement the best GPS tracking practices without harming your employees' rights or risking a lawsuit, your best choice is to create an employee GPS tracking policy.
Read on as we cover everything you need to know about the policy, from the legal requirements and mandatory elements to how you should implement it.
Read our article to learn more about best GPS employee tracker apps.
This is a somewhat confusing legislative area, mainly because the federal law doesn't provide any regulations regarding the use of geolocation information.
That's why states have taken on themselves to define and regulate the field of location privacy rights.
Given that employee privacy is a very sensitive topic, it's essential to study the laws of your state carefully when creating an employee GPS tracking policy.
Here are several factors you should take into consideration.
Let's take California, the state with one of the strictest privacy regulations, as an example.
According to the state's Penal Code Section 637.7, "No person or entity in this state shall use an electronic tracking device to determine the location or movement of a person."
But, "This section shall not apply when the registered owner, lessor, or lessee of a vehicle has consented to the use of the electronic tracking device with respect to that vehicle."
So, we can safely conclude that it's legal to track your employees using GPS when it's with their consent.
To stay compliant with this law, it’s essential to create an employee GPS tracking agreement and ask your team to read and sign it before you install a tracking device or use a GPS-tracking app.
Given that in the Golden State, the right to privacy is considered a constitutional right that can't be alienated, it's crucial to understand all the implications of this legislation.
In addition to that, there might be some union agreements in place that can also pose an obstacle to GPS tracking. To avoid any unpleasant outcomes, implement potential union provisions in your employee GPS tracking policy.
Texas, Virginia, Delaware, Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee, and Minnesota adopted similar provisions, meaning that a GPS tracker can be installed in a vehicle but only if the owner of the vehicle agrees.
Simply put, this means that if you're running a business in one of these states, you need your employees to accept an employee GPS tracking agreement in case they're owners of the vehicle you want to monitor.
On the other hand, if they will be driving a company-owned vehicle, no GPS letter to employees is required. Still, it's best to consult legal experts on this and make sure you're absolutely free to install a GPS-tracking device on the company vehicles that are your property.
You can use GPS to track employee-owned vehicles only during business hours.
Collecting the geolocation information of your employees while they're not at work constitutes an invasion of their privacy. And this can result in serious legal issues.
To avoid this scenario, let your employees know under which circumstances you intend to GPS track their vehicle. Include this in your employee GPS tracking policy and adhere to the agreement.
Once we become aware of how the legislation formulates privacy regulations, it becomes clear that we can't use "GPS tracking employees," and "GPS tracking vehicles" interchangeably.
If your employees use company-owned laptops or phones they take off premises after work, the privacy law extends to these devices too.
While it's your right to keep track of your property, that is, company vehicles and devices, tracking employees' whereabouts using their personal devices isn't that black and white.
The factors that make all the difference and that should be clarified are:
So, if your employees will use their own devices for work purposes and if they will be tracked only while on the clock, then this practice is justified and legally acceptable.
In some cases, it's even required. For example, as of January 2023, Electronic Visit Verification systems will become mandatory for all home care and hospice agencies in the US. In short, to protect themselves from potential litigation, agencies document the time, date, and location of every visit.
And that can be done only if GPS-tracking functionality on caregivers' devices is enabled. The EVV system prevents fraudulent caregiver practices and offers legitimate proof that a patient received the proper care.
Again, the best way out of this potentially ambiguous situation is to have a standardized employee GPS tracking policy that will state all this and inform employees about their rights.
To add another layer of legal protection, you can use Timeero for your time, mileage, and GPS tracking needs.
Our app stops tracking a device the moment your employees clock out. To comply with relevant legislation, the app won't capture employees' locations during their breaks either.
Moreover, even if someone from your team forgets to clock out, the app will remind them and notify their manager, who can manually clock the employee out.
With Timeero, you can monitor your employees' coordinates without installing bulky and expensive hardware.
The GPS tracker for employees ensures that every location is documented with a timestamp. In other words, it's possible to prove where exactly an employee has been at a particular moment, which can come in handy in case a customer complains that the service hasn't been provided.
It's critical to make sure your employees are on the same page with you when it comes to GPS tracking and their privacy rights.
Your employee GPS tracking policy is the basis for this.
Here are elements that every company's GPS tracking policy should contain.
Nobody likes being monitored.
Your employees might start thinking that you don't trust them, which can erode workplace relationships and employee loyalty.
To get your employees on board and convince them that GPS tracking is not only in the company's but also their best interest, include a short section that discusses the purpose and importance of this procedure in your employee GPS tracking policy.
Before introducing the Policy, talk to your employees and explain that they will also benefit from it.
Here are some scenarios you can mention:
When people don't understand something, they tend to be suspicious and upset.
That applies to all kinds of employee monitoring practices.
If your employees understand why you decided to introduce GPS tracking and what kind of devices or apps you will use, they will be less worried.
It's a good idea to show them how the GPS system you will implement works and eliminate any doubts.
Organize an onboarding session for all the employees who will be using this solution and go through all the features and functionalities with them.
Your employee GPS tracking policy should contain all the relevant details about the types of data you will collect and store.
For example, your employees might be confused about whether you'll be able to monitor them even when they're not working. Or that you'll keep track of the places they visit in their free time.
Clearing the air will set their mind at ease since their privacy will be protected.
The safety of your employees' data is of paramount importance.
By informing them what measures you will take to secure their location and other data you will collect and store, they won't be reluctant to share it with you.
List the steps you'll take in your employee GPS tracking policy to show you're serious about it.
Let your employees know who will be able to access their data. Another important thing is to highlight that the company will ensure the confidentiality of employees' personal data and prevent any misuse.
This will dispel their privacy fears and ensure following the GPS policy and procedure.
Your employee GPS tracking policy should include information about how long you plan on keeping the data, whether you will destroy it, and when.
Check out our GPS tracking policy template and customize it to match your company's requirements.
If you decide to use a GPS tracking app for monitoring your employees, ensure you provide your staff with all the information they need about the software.
Besides the general GPS tracking policy, you should distribute summarized informational bulletins of the software of your choice, in which you will provide a brief overview of the app and its purpose.
The summary bulletin should also include details on how the GPS tracking app functions, what information it tracks and records, and when and how it uses employees’ data.
Informing your employees about GPS tracking and asking for their written consent to use the GPS tracking app will enable your compliance with relevant legislation.
Absolutely. This article can serve as a walkthrough that will help you navigate the entire process of creating an employee GPS tracking policy and educating your team about it. This is a document you should have before you start with GPS tracking and it should be handed out to all your employees.