GPS Rubs Some Employees The Wrong Way
By Carlo Longino, Fri May 14 14:30:00 GMT 2004

Managers are keen to install GPS units to track fleets of vehicles, but some workers worry they'll be used for eavesdropping rather than productivity gains.


The Wall Street Journal's got an interesting feature on its front page this morning about the backlash from some employees in the US against their employers using GPS to track their vehicles' movements. The Teamsters union, along with others, is concerned about the constant monitoring the devices allow.

GPS tracking offers a lot of fleet-management benefits, especially in time-critical businesses. A North Carolina county that tracks its ambulances by GPS and uses a system to route the nearest vehicle to emergency calls says the system has cut 10 percent off the time it takes them to respond, and UPS is planning to install GPS units in its next generation of delivery scanner tablets, allowing them new options such as to reroute packages in transit.

Some people are, however, using GPS to crack down on employees, and it's these cases the unions are worried about. A New Jersey police department caught five of its officers slacking off on the job after it installed trackers in their cars and their locations didn't match the logs they filed detailing their activities.

It's clear that GPS tracking has a lot to offer fleet managers. But it's also clear that it can be easily used to constantly look over employees' shoulders -- but isn't that what many bosses do with or without technology? And what have honest employees got to hide, anyway?