Vehicle tracking company cars – Is employee monitoring permitted?

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Monitoring employees and company cars via GPS, that’s the legal situation!

Many company vehicles are also released for private use, so monitoring the company car is generally only permitted during working hours. GPS monitoring of company cars outside of working hours is considered secret monitoring and is not legal.

GPS trackers use information for location and data processing that is particularly worthy of protection and sensitive according to the Federal Data Protection Act . The recording and use of personal data must therefore comply with fixed guidelines. Therefore, the declaration of consent from the affected employee is an absolute obligation for the employer; this must always be voluntary; whether the car can be used privately is irrelevant. If the company vehicle is monitored using GPS, this must be clear; a light display is often used so that the employer knows that routes and working hours are being recorded.

Before employee monitoring via GPS comes into question, the works council must first be consulted. This is also responsible for all labor and data protection aspects in the company and has a special data protection officer who is familiar with the regulations of the Federal Data Protection Act. In this conversation, a detailed agreement is drawn up, the aspects of which include all important aspects of data protection: the processing of employee data, the storage location of the data, under what circumstances movement data is recorded, how the functions of the tracking system can be switched on and off and whether the data is used to monitor behavior and performance. The employer must act based on the company agreement on GPS monitoring . If he adheres to all requirements, GPS tracking is always unproblematic in the employment relationship.

When employee monitoring is not permitted

Surveillance of workers is not legally permitted if it is done secretly and without consent. Employers and employees must always clarify GPS tracking; it is important that the employee gives their consent.

Labor law clearly regulates what data may be collected; personal information is not included, for example if the employee regularly travels to a specific lunch spot. The boss is only allowed to research data that is relevant to business processes.

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What the employee can do if the employer secretly creates movement profiles and monitors the company car

The following basically applies: Employers are not allowed to act against the BDSG, which means that GPS tracking must always be coordinated with the employee and does not take place outside of working hours. If it happens that employers secretly and privately monitor their employees, then it makes sense  for an employee to seek additional support ; he can contact an employment law lawyer . Labor law goes hand in hand with the BDSG; lawyers with relevant specialist areas are the perfect contacts if surveillance is suspected or discovered.

It is also important who has access to the information determined and how the authorized person reacts to the use of personal data; the Federal Data Protection Act must be taken into account. The GPS information must be kept inaccessible and third parties must not have access to it.

Tracking of company cars – benefits for the employee

If the manager adheres to all requirements, then the company benefits holistically from the introduction of a GPS system . In most cases this is not about monitoring; it can also come into play if operational requirements make it necessary. For example, optimization of all processes and improved planning for the future . The fleet management has a perfected overview and every vehicle can be tracked . The employer monitors the routes taken and knows if problems arise; in an emergency, he can promptly advise the driver of a suitable detour.

Of course, tracking offers other benefits, such as improving theft protection . Since the vehicles are secured with a tracker, they report corresponding alarms when the device is moved or removed. This device not only increases theft protection, it is also used to protect the driver, vehicle and load . If a company vehicle is stolen, live tracking provides the location in real time , making the search easier and supporting the police in their investigations. If desired, additional alarm functions can supplement the overview, for example virtual fencing of the company premises or notification of excessive speed.

GPS systems provide all the data a company needs for a proper logbook . Logbooks are always necessary when company vehicles are used for business and private purposes. With the help of the information provided, business trips can be better separated from private trips , which makes communication with the tax office easier. However, keeping the logbook manually is time-consuming and must meet certain requirements, otherwise all records are invalid. With the right system and networking of all vehicles, a digital logbook can be installed in the company vehicle and make everyday work easier in the long term.

GPS recordings in the company – a conclusion

The supervisor is generally allowed to use GPS systems in his company; based on the data collected, he must react sensitively to the recording and secure the information obtained as best as possible in order to protect it from third parties. If the guidelines are implemented correctly and the employees agree, GPS transmitters deliver an improvement in everyday life based on detailed analyses.

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