With many companies turning to modern technology the RWU acknowledges that employers may be installing and using GPS devices on company vehicles (or vehicles used for the explicit use of working for that company).
The RWU members need to be aware of what is appropriate use and inappropriate use (and the legalities) of surveillance devices such as GPS. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has said that there must be a balance between an employer’s legitimate safety concerns and an employee’s right to privacy.
GPS data should not be used as a matter of course in employee management situations. Should the company contemplate using for such employee management purposes, the RWU expects that it be clear to employees about such purposes and establish a policy outlining an appropriate process of warnings and progressive monitoring. We ask that the company ensure that only through that process should GPS data be collected and used for employee management purposes.
With respect to limiting the collection and use of information, generally speaking, “function creep” is not acceptable. In other words, the purposes and uses of a particular technology should be precisely specified, and that technology should be restricted to its intended purposes.
The RWU is aware many employers, in their quest to be proactive, often resort to technology in anticipation of problems or as a means of maintaining competitiveness. In addition to the problems that arise from function creep, members rights are slowly eroded by the cumulative effects of measures intended to meet the bottom line. We caution all employers that the effects on the dignity of employees of all the measures in place – taken as a whole, not just as one measure alone – must be considered in balancing the rights of the individual to privacy and the needs of organizations to collect, use or disclose personal information for appropriate purposes. We demand employers to take steps to recognize the dignity of its employees by instituting the policy on the use of GPS with respect to employee management. Such measures help maintain that balance in the workplace.
Retail Wholesale Union Provincial Representative