Is it legal to track workers by geolocation?

Control workers by geographic location

mobile phone We are already familiar with the phenomenon of geolocation. However, in the matter of the workplace, it is an issue that requires special care in order not to infringe on rights. Let’s see if we can control workers with geolocation.

Whether you have a company or are an employee. It is important that you are aware of what the regulations say in this regard.


What is geographic location in the workplace?

Geolocation is a process where It helps us know the physical location of a person at a given time. This can be done by using technology and systems that determine the geographic coordinates of specific points on the earth’s surface. For this we can use:

  • GPS.
  • Mobile network.
  • WiFi
  • IP address
  • Bluetooth and RFID This use is limited to geolocation in the immediate environment.

When applied to the workplace Geolocation helps us know where employees are at all times, for example through IP addresses. It is possible to know if a remote employee is at home or not. Or if you go to work at the beach for a few days.

But there are more examples. Like installing a GPS tracking system in vehicles used by the company’s sales staff The information they provide is helpful in planning more efficient routes. But it also serves to control whether those not working in a supervised office are actually doing their jobs.

Is it possible to control workers by geolocation?

Should companies have geographic control over employees?

We already know what the geographic location of the event involves. And now it is time to examine whether our legal system allows this control to be implemented.

The legal basis is found in Article 20.3 of the Workers’ Constitution (ET), which Recognize the power of employers to monitor and control the activities of their employees. But this is not absolute power.

The Personal Data Protection Regulation emphasizes that The use of location systems must always be done within the legal framework. and respect the limits set forth
So the answer to whether employees can be controlled by geolocation is yes, but there are limits.

Requirements to be able to use geolocation at the job level

What requirements must companies meet to use geolocation?

Using geolocation systems No matter what system it is Several requirements must be met:

professional objectives

This system must have a professional purpose. In no case will the obtained information be used. For nothing more than supervision. that employees are where they should be at all times

Data obligations

The geographic location of employees cannot be performed without notifying them in advance.

The information provided must be clear, precise and let employees know they are going to be geolocatedHow and under what conditions? In this sense, controlling employees with geolocation is somewhat similar to using video cameras in the workplace.

except, Affected people must be informed. regarding the rights that assist them in terms of data protection in relation to data recorded by geolocation systems. as well as the period for which the information will be kept

Proportion of measurement

This measure must be proportional to the control to be carried out. If only there were less harmful privacy measures that were equally beneficial to control. The system with the least load is selected.

Use of company media

The location system can only be installed on electronic devices provided by the company to employees. Workers cannot be forced to install an app on their mobile phones to let employers know where they are. This can only be done if the company provides telephone services to its employees. And the same thing happens with other devices such as computers.

Limitations set by the Supreme Court

The company can't do anything about geo-tracking.

The use of geolocation systems is a point of contention between employees and employers, and The legal process surrounding this issue never stops growing.

Some appeals have even reached the Supreme Court. which is responsible for setting several guidelines For geolocation at work to be legal, you must:

Limit yourself to time to work.

Only authorized operators Control the location of your employees within the workday. Of these.

For example, if a remote worker works from 7:00 AM to 3:00 AM in the afternoon, the connection IP can be checked at 11:00 AM in the morning and 2:30 AM in the afternoon, but In no case is it past 3:00 in the afternoon. Because this would mean invading your private life.

If the salesperson has a car with a GPS tracking system The device must be configured to disconnect at the end of the day. If you do not do so Employees can sue employers for violating their right to privacy.

If the vehicle belongs to the company If employees are not allowed to use it outside of working hours Businessmen are allowed to use geolocation. To know if the car is being used for personal use without permission or not.

Do not collect personal information

Even if its use is limited to workdays. Location devices cannot capture images, audio, or data. that violates the privacy of workers

What must be clear to us is that controlling workers by geolocation is legal. But because this is an issue that may affect people’s privacy. Its use must carefully comply with the requirements established at the legal level and jurisprudence.. Apart from these cases Employees have the right to report to their employer any violations of their privacy. And it must be taken into account that this type of process can lead to significant sanctions for companies.

Leave a Comment