There has been an uptrend in recent years of employers using a variety of technological tools to supervise their employees and oversee the quality of their work. The use of these tools has become more prevalent due to the shift of many organizations to working from home last year.
For the most part, the use of monitoring systems occurs in instances when keeping track of employees’ work hours is nearly impossible due to the nature of their roles. These include drivers, delivery persons, and sales agents, who do not have a permanent physical workplace. Employers can monitor employees using designated applications they may ask employees to install in their personal cellphones or in phones they provide. Employees’ locations can also be tracked using GPS systems installed in vehicles used by employees that belong to the employer.
As a result of the many queries submitted to the Israeli Privacy Protection Authority on the subject, the PPA has published a draft statement for public comment. The statement presents the ethical and legal dilemmas involved in employers’ use of technologies to collect data on their employees’ location, and attempts to set standards for employers’ use of such technologies.
If employers fulfill these criteria and have a legitimate and vital reason for collecting employees’ location data, as well as meet the above requirements of proportionality, employers must then comply with the following conditions:
In some sense, the PPA’s statement lags behind the current situation at many employers and the Israeli labor courts’ extensive rulings. Nevertheless, the statement reiterates the need for separation between employees’ personal activities and work-related activities. It focuses on the question of defining “work time” and “personal time” and the extent to which separating the two can be achieved at this time. In addition to the legal aspects of the PPA’s statement, its implementation can help employers manage their labor relations in a way that does not infringe upon their employees’ personal time.
This draft statement reiterates and emphasizes the fact that there are many aspects of labor relations subject to privacy protection laws. Employers must be prepared to comply with both privacy protection laws and the various labor laws.