GPS Tracking and Privacy Rights
Do you think employers should have the right to track worker whereabouts with a GPS tracking device without their knowledge? What if the employer suspects the employee is falsifying time-sheets? What if the employer is the State of New York and is being funded by tax dollars? These are some of the issues at the core of a new lawsuit brought forth by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) on behalf of a former Department of Labor (DOL), Michael Cunningham.
Mr. Cunningham was fired in August of 2010 from his $115,000 per year DOL Supervisor job based on information gained from a GPS tracking system that had been placed on his BMW. The GPS tracking device was placed on his vehicle because his managers suspected that he was falsifying his time-sheets – trying to get paid for hours he didn’t actually work. Based on the GPS vehicle tracking system data, the NY Labor Dept. fired Mr. Cunningham.
This week, Mr. Cunningham is suing to get his job back, claiming investigators had no right to place a GPS vehicle tracking device on his personal car. The lawsuit says the Labor Department’s use of GPS tracking without a warrant violated Cunningham’s constitutional right to be free of unreasonable searches. “Your boss can’t sit in the backseat of your car and watch you, your wife and your children 24 hours a day, but that’s exactly what the Department of Labor did to Mr. Cunningham,” said the NYCLU’s Donna Lieberman. Cunningham is also claiming that the charges were unproven and the GPS tracking information was flawed.
But the case gets interesting when you hear this: the government didn’t just track Cunningham’s car, they also got his E-ZPass records to prove their point and had him followed home from work. Should employers be allowed to do track you like this and fire you based on the info?
For more info, go to the Wall St. Journal.