A US employee was required to install an app on her mobile which effectively tracked her movements both in and out of work. Her main gripe was that although she had no objection to being monitored at work, she considered that monitoring her whereabouts when away from work was a breach of her privacy and associated it with a prisoner's ankle bracelet. She was sacked by her employer after removing the app from her mobile. She is claiming damages.
The case is a reminder to all employers in the UK of each persons right to privacy enshrined in the Human Rights Act 1998 (although interestingly the Government is proposing to replace this legislation with a British Bill of Rights).
The Information Commissioner, the UK data protection authority, has issued the Employment Practices Data Protection Code which covers monitoring at work. It recommends that all companies undertake an "impact assessment" before carrying out any monitoring. This involves identifying whether monitoring is necessary and, if so, what form it should take to achieve the best balance between employees' rights to privacy and the company's needs for carrying out its business.
In the UK it is clearly vital that employers carry out impact assessments. If monitoring is then necessary it is crucial that an employer seeks the consent of their employees to carry out the monitoring. Such consent should be first included in their contracts of employment. Policies should also be put in place for each different type of monitoring e.g. internet, email, in-vehicle etc and communicated to employees.
A US sales executive is suing her employer for invasion of privacy, alleging that she was fired after deleting an app which tracked her movements.The action alleges that Intermex, a firm which arranges money transfers, tracked employees even when off-duty.Myrna Arias alleges that she was "scolded" for removing the app and fired a few weeks later.The company has not responded to the allegations.