Work with a GPS system

Labor law - GPS: Can the employer monitor me around the clock?

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It's nice when employees can also use the company car privately. But what if the vehicles are equipped with tracking devices? An "Espresso" listener from Wallisellen has a queasy feeling: "Can my boss really monitor me around the clock?"

Author: Gabriela Baumgartner

An "Espresso" listener from Wallisellen can take the company car home and use it for private trips. So far so good.

But: A Global Positioning System (GPS) is built into the car. The employer can therefore check every kilometer covered by his employees and knows where they are. With the «Espresso» listener, this leaves a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach: «Can my boss really monitor me around the clock?»

Behavioral controls are prohibited

Employers are allowed to monitor their employees, but only within very narrow limits. Monitoring and control systems that are exclusively intended to monitor the behavior of employees in the workplace are completely forbidden according to the labor law (Art. 26 ArGV3). Where monitoring is necessary, for example to prevent theft or to be able to plan operations better, it must not impair the employees' freedom of movement.

According to data protection agencies, monitoring by GPS is permitted. But only if

  • it is proportionate, i.e. it does not unnecessarily control and stress employees. The employer may only monitor his employees permanently on the screen if this is necessary for security reasons, for example. Such so-called real-time monitoring systems are permitted, for example, to track cash in transit or when transporting dangerous goods.
  • the employees are informed about the monitoring and have been told why the monitoring is taking place, which data is collected, who has access to this data, how long it is stored that employees have a right to information.
  • the workers' association was consulted prior to the introduction of surveillance.

Specifically: Except in the exceptional cases mentioned above, a GPS system is only permitted if it is used sporadically to control working hours or to prevent misuse. Total and permanent monitoring of employees in their workplace is prohibited.

Monitoring in your spare time? No.

GPS systems are even more forbidden if the employee also uses the vehicle for private purposes and if he cannot switch off the system himself outside of working hours.

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The legal expert Gabriela Baumgartner answers a legal question every Thursday in "Espresso". Here are the previous answers.
If you also have a question, write to us.

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  1. Kassensturz espresso
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  • Comment from Fredy Heckendorn, Bürglen
    Sorry, but what a stupid question !! I would certainly NOT use the company car privately from such an employer. You have a bit of pride too, right?
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Comment from Max Wartenberg, Basel
    What if the GPS was installed to monitor the car (not the driver) as a precautionary measure against theft? The GPS reports automatically as soon as the car leaves a previously defined zone. With such a system, it is of course possible to determine where the car is at any time, but this is not the primary function.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Commentary by Charles Dupond, Vivis
    Even in wage slavery, the fish starts to stink on the head. Labor law could largely be designed like commission law, where the freedom of the agent is restricted only to the extent necessary for the client's legitimate interests. In electronically supported neo-feudalism, external control is massively tightened by the wage slave owner and more and more overdone on leisure time (up to its utilization with sleep "hygiene") ...
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment

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