Fired by GPS data. It seems dystopian, but the truth is that the Spanish Justice has endorsed this practice. If you have access to a company car, you should know that you can be fired if you use the vehicle when it is not permitted.
Caught by the location of the car. Vehicles have GPS and this geolocator can be used to know where the car is at all times. This is the case of a ruling from September 2020, endorsed by the Supreme Court.
Chamber IV, Social Matters, determined that the use of data from the GPS geolocator of a company vehicle can be used appropriately to justify a disciplinary dismissal.
Can they then use GPS to spy on the worker? Not so fast. The Supreme Court justifies this type of dismissal, but establishes a series of conditions. One of them is as basic as the fact that the company must inform the worker that the company car has a GPS locator.
There are also a number of limitations when using this data. This data is restricted to the movement and location of the vehicle, but cannot go beyond that.
He used it even though he was on medical leave. The specific case is that of a worker at a company dedicated to the retail trade of telecommunications equipment. The supervisor in question was on medical leave, but even so, as recorded, the worker made “intensive use” of the company car during this time, even though she was prohibited from using it for purposes other than work. The car’s GPS was the indicator of this misuse.
There is no invasion of privacy. According to Judge María Lourdes of the Supreme Court: “the worker knew that the vehicle could not be used outside of working hours and, along with this, that it could be located through the GPS receiver. Hence, we did not see any invasion in their fundamental rights with the verification of geolocation data that allows us to see that the indicated vehicle is used in disobedience to the company’s instructions at times when there was no provision of services”.
The justification is again that the worker “was well aware” of the presence of the GPS in the vehicle and therefore there is no violation of his fundamental rights.
Despite being out of hours. An appeal had previously been filed against the ruling of the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia, which considered the dismissal null and void due to the fact that it was understood that by applying the use of GPS data outside of working hours, it was not an appropriate use.
However, the Supreme Court’s position agrees with the company when considering that the GPS is not based on the worker, but on the vehicle itself. And it is detected that this was used when it was not appropriate. Something that had already been made clear to the worker.
Everything must be in writing. “Technological means can be used to justify a dismissal, but their use must respect the principles of proportionality, suitability and that there are no other less intrusive means,” explained Vidal Galingo, a lawyer expert in labor matters, to Xataka.
Regarding the communication of the existence of this GPS, it must be in writing and state the possibility of the rights of access, rectification, limitation of processing and deletion. A series of associated rights that does not prevent the fact that the company can fire us appropriately through the GPS data of the company car.
Image | Tobias Rademacher
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