Can my employer use GPS tracking as evidence to fire me for misconduct ifI was not informed or consented to the GPS in my work vehicle?

UPDATED: Dec 21, 2011

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Can my employer use GPS tracking as evidence to fire me for misconduct ifI was not informed or consented to the GPS in my work vehicle?

Asked on December 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Actually, your employer probably can fire you for this. That is unless you have an employment contract, union agreement or company policy to the contrary, or your treatment consitutes actionable discrimination. The fact is that in most "at will" employment relationships an employer can fire an employee for this reason, any reason, or no reason at all.

That having been said, in CA it is against the law to install a GPS tracking device on a vehicle without first notifying an employee and obtaining their permission. Specifically, it is a criminal offense (a misdemeanor) to track any person’s location with an electronic device without that person’s consent. Cal. Penal Code § 637.7. 

While there is little expectation of privacy in the workplace itself, the law is not as clear when it comes to an employee's use of a business vehicle. Many factors come into play. Accordingly,  you probably have a civil claim for breach of privacy, etc. It all depends on the specifics of your case. At this point you should consult directly with an employment law attorney as to the validity of a claim for such a breach. Go over the details of your situation with them.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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