Employee GPS tracking policy

13 March 2020

Many businesses employ drivers to provide the particular service required by their customers.

As modern technology has developed, many company vehicles are now fitted with GPS tracking devices.

But what are the Irish employment laws regarding this? We explain them for you in this guide.

GPS tracking in business

Businesses with a fleet of vehicles find GPS tracking useful as drivers get lost less often, find their destinations quicker, avoid traffic congestion and improve efficiency overall which reduces costs.

In tandem with tracking the vehicle, GPS technology that's fitted to a vehicle also effectively acts as an employee location tracking system.  

As GPS technology has developed, employment law sometimes struggles to keep up and the legality of GPS tracking of employees is somewhat of a grey area. 

Much like a CCTV system that records employees, employee GPS tracking raises legal issues around the personal privacy rights of the employee and data protection.

GPS tracking and the law

A typical example of a business using GPS technology that doubles up as an employee GPS tracking device would be a cargo company.

The data compiled by a vehicle-based GPS tracking system would allow the employer to assess their drivers’ statistics like kilometres covered per day, fuel efficiency and route selection.

Other businesses might use a field employee tracking app in company-owned smartphones that allow staff to record their work activity.

To determine whether or not GPS tracking of employees is legal or not, Ireland’s data protection regime must be borne in mind.

Employee time tracking via GPS could be covered under Irish data protection legislation. The monitoring of a company vehicle involves the collection of personal data.

In tracking the vehicle, you are also tracking the movements of the person in charge of that vehicle.

If your business uses this type of GPS tracking of employees, laws including the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 must be factored into your operations.

Tell employees what data you are collecting

While products like GPS tracking systems can improve your business’s analytic capabilities, it is vital that you consider the data collected by those systems.

Certain states in the United States have limited when and how employers use GPS technology. While you do have the right monitor your employees’ activity, you also have to respect your employees’ right to privacy.  

One way to do this is to clarify in your contract of employment the legal basis for using a GPS tracking system. You must be able to show that there is a good business reason to implement vehicle tracking.

If you run a business that requires a GPS employee tracking policy, the policy must consider the ethical implications of monitoring employees.

The most fundamental consideration in drafting a policy is to ensure that all employees are aware of the data that is being collected about them.  

Your policy must inform any employees who are being tracked that the vehicle they use is being monitored, and the legal basis for using the technology.

This should be in writing and the employee should acknowledge receipt of the policy.

If the employee is permitted to use the vehicle for non-work purposes, there must also be a way to turn off the tracking device, so that you are not monitoring the worker's movements outside work.

Need more information?

So as you can see, if you plan to use GPS tracking on your vehicles, Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner will also be monitoring your business’s use of GPS closely.

If you would like further complimentary advice from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night. Call us on 1890 252 923.

Suggested Resources