Can you put a GPS tracking system in a company truck, and not tell your drivers?

November 10, 2016

Topics: Privacy in the Workplace

It is legal to put a GPS tracking system in a company truck and track company drivers in many locations, within limits. The company must own the truck, and the company may only track its drivers during their working hours.  If employees are permitted to take their company trucks home and use them for non-business activities, the employer cannot track the truck during the non-working hours.

The second part of the question - whether an employer can place a GPS tracking system in a company truck, and not tell its drivers – is more complicated.  Laws differ among the states. Some states permit the employer to place a GPS tracking system in a company truck without an employee’s consent.  They reason, for example, that employers do not need to advise employees of all the strategies or methods the company might use to identify employee policy violations or other wrongdoings. Thus, in those locations, during times when employees are supposed to be working, employers can track their truck’s locations (and thus, the employees’ locations) using a GPS system. Other states forbid employers from using electronic surveillance, including GPS, without express employee consent, and consider tracking without consent to be an invasion of privacy.  Employers should consult with their attorneys regarding the applicable rules of any state, county or locality before installing a GPS system in a company truck without advising employees.

Of course, if employee consent is received in advance, GPS tracking of company vehicles should not be an issue.  In that case, it is best to obtain consent in writing and have a policy regarding how the GPS is being used.