13 January 2010

Is this an invasion of privacy?

I have a question for you. Here is the situation:

A company has two types of employees, Hourly and Salary. The hourly personnel are allowed to take their company vehicle home but only to drive to and from work. The salaried personnel are allowed to use the vehicle for personal use because it is considered part of their salary.

The salaried personal also pay personal mileage taxes on the personal miles they put on their company vehicle.

The company is putting GPS tracking devices on the crew trucks that will alert when they exceed a certain speed or go to certain locations. DOT has mandated that most of the crew trucks have to have these GPS devices because of the materials that they carry.

The company is debating on whether or not to put the GPS system on the salaried personnel's vehicles. My opinion was solicited and i said yes, i could care less. I think that since it is a company vehicle, they have the right to know where it is at all times.

Other employees took the stance that since they were allowed to use the vehicle for personal use and since they paid personal mileage tax, the company cannot track them on their personal time. They believe it to be an invasion of privacy.

The company has a zero tolerance policy on DUI but does allow a salesman for example to entertain a customer where adult libations are sold. As long as the salesman doesn't operate the vehicle while drunk, he can take the vehicle to a club. Salaried personnel that have a company vehicle are Supervisors on up to Vice Presidents.

In your opinion, does the company have the right to monitor your activities in a company vehicle when you are on your own time. Keep in mind that this company terminated a regional manager for his actions with prostitutes because they said this type of behaviour would not be tolerated by one of their managers.


canivalpo said...

Wow, haven't kept up with you in awhile. So gps, huh? It's always been my understanding that it's a universal rule for a guy to use his bestfriend's car to go to the xxx shop to purchase his wife's vibrating buddy or his best set of butt beads.
And if they're wanting to pick up hooker's or hang out at a favorite gentlemen's club on their own time then parking across the street at the nearest Hobby Lobby should fix that annoying GPS problem. You're right though. It's the company's vehicle so they get to do what they like.
I mean if you have a 16 yr old daughter who owns a diary and also happens to have a boyfriend who keeps her out late on occasion.. come on...don't you have the right to sneek a peek into some of her notes to make sure that some horny little twirp with a hair trigger pecker isn't going to be fornicating with her in the back of your minivan only to later become a major part of the reason that your baby never graduates high school because baby jr keeps her up at all hours of the night thus causing her lack of sleep and loss of interest in educating herself to better herself someday?? Hmm??
Anyway, I think that the company definitely has a right to know if their crew truck is in a nasty place being taken adavantage of and possibly ending up another statistic in teenage pregnancy! LOL! Sorry, I haven't commented in awhile. Thought I would try multi-tasking and cover several subjects at once..must catch up on your blog. Bye.

Bob S. said...

I think this is a case of multiple choice answer,

Yes - it is an invasion of privacy.

Yes- the company has the authority and power to monitor the usage of the vehicles driven by employees.

Yes - the company has the authority to monitor what is done with the company vehicle even if the person isn't on company time because 1.) the vehicle belongs to the company and 2.) as a salaried employee that person is a representative of the company during that time.

No- the company has no authority to know where a person is going or what a person is doing on their own time.

Notice the distinction -- one is monitoring the vehicle, the other is monitoring the person.

IF you don't want to let the company know what you are doing - simply don't use the company car for that activity.

The car is a perk; I would hope that everyone remembers that and remembers that it can be revoked for any or no reason. Heck given the business climate; I'm surprised the company still allows it for personal use.

Jess said...

Legally, they have the right to know where their property is at all times. I'd think what the person is doing with their property may be on the slippery slope of privacy when has nothing to do with the company. The company could have their corporate pants sued off if information that is of no concern to the company becomes public.

Other than what is required by the DOT, why would the company want to spend money for something that has no use except for snooping?

Ray said...

Canivalpo, thank you for your comments. It is always a pleasure to read the writings of someone who was expelled from home school.

The privacy issue was not about crew trucks, it was about sales and managers vehicles.

Ray said...

Bob S, i agree with you. It is the company's vehicle so they can do as they wish.

Ray said...

Jess, the reason they are considering it is because of the tattle tale system. It alerts when you speed or when you go somewhere you shouldn't. They see it as a form of supervision when people are driving.

Jess said...

Personally, any company that has enough resources to pay for someone to monitor driving habits has too much overhead and someone needs to be tossed to the wolves. Security reasons I can understand. Just wanting to know is wasteful, and increases costs.

Mulligan said...

if the vehicle is a generic unmarked part of the salary it should be yours to do with as you see fit, just like the money part of your salary or a leased vehicle. It may not be titled in your name but it is property under your control.

if the vehicle is representing the company and marked with a logo or other advertising then the company should be able to track where it is parked and where potential customers would see it.

high level exec's seldom have ads on their vehicles so I'd think this would be an invasion of privacy. If you don't trust what your execs are doing in/with the $30k company asset then they shouldn't have access to one.