Geolocation makes it possible to locate vehicles or other equipment belonging to the company (telephones, badges, etc.) using a GPS device allowing their immediate geographical location. By the same token, geolocation makes it possible to know the geographical position of employees. Such a device may be of interest to the employer, when it comes, for example, to monitor the activity of employees and their working time, to manage interventions with customers in real time or even to fight against theft. . According to a study recently unveiled by GetApp, 26% of employees claim to be geolocated by their employer in order to control their schedules and 25% are to ensure their safety.
But is such a practice allowed? Within the framework of the execution of the employment contract, the employer has a power of direction, which allows him to control the activity of his employees. But this power of control knows its limits, in particular when it comes to the use of tools liable to infringe the fundamental rights and freedoms of employees. This is the case with geolocation systems, which can quickly constitute an intrusion into the privacy of employees. This is why their implementation, although permitted in certain situations, is strictly regulated.
Geolocation of employees: a very supervised tool
As with any restriction on the rights and freedoms of employees, the establishment of a geolocation system must be justified by the nature of the company’s activity and proportionate to the desired goal. Thus, the geolocation of employees to control their working hours should be used only as a last resort, when this control cannot be carried out by any other means. As soon as the control of working time can be carried out by another tool, for example via a badge reader, a self-declaration system or a daily report of your working hours, the implementation of geolocation is illegal. The employer must therefore favor this alternative tool to geolocation, even though it would be less effective.
The use of geolocation must also be excluded when the employee has freedom in the organization of his work. Thus, if you are relatively independent in the organization of your activity and in the management of your schedule, the use of a geolocation system is not justified. You are therefore entitled to refuse the implementation of this device, and your refusal may not constitute a fault.
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An obligation to inform employees and the CSE in advance
The employer has the obligation to inform each employee prior to setting up a geolocation system, when the purpose of this system is to monitor the activity of employees. This information must be individual: it can be, for example, an amendment to the employment contract or a memo sent and signed by each employee. If you have not been informed of the installation of the geolocation device, then the elements collected via this device are illegal: your employer will not be able to use them to prove a fault that you may have committed.
The employer must also inform and consult staff representatives before any decision to implement means or techniques allowing control of employee activity. The lack of consultation with the CSE constitutes a obstruction offense, which exposes the employer to a fine of 7,500 euros. Finally, the implementation of geolocation involves the processing of personal data concerning employees. Therefore, the employer must comply with the provisions of the GDPR, and in particular register the device in the register of processing activities.
Attention : the geolocation system cannot be used by the employer for any purpose other than those which have been brought to your attention. Any other use, for example to control the activity of employees when the device has been declared in order to fight against theft, is unlawful and penally sanctioned.
Use of geolocation data by the employer: what are the limits?
If your employer has set up a geolocation system in your company, in compliance with the regulations, be aware that the use of the data collected by this system is also very supervised. First, geolocation should never be used to permanently monitor employees. This means that your employer must not use any data that would be collected outside your working hours, i.e. during breaks, commuting times between home and work, etc. The CNIL also specifies that you must be able, whatever the purpose of the device, to deactivate the geolocation function at the end of your working time or during your breaks. Your employer may, however, ask you for explanations if he notices that the device has been deactivated too frequently or for too long. As part of a geolocation tool installed in a company vehicle, the employer cannot use the data collected to monitor compliance with speed limits. Finally, be aware that you have access to the data concerning you recorded by the geolocation tool.
Write it down : a geolocation device may under no circumstances be used to monitor the movements of staff representatives in the exercise of their mandate.
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