Woman alleges she was sacked after deleting tracking app from phone

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A US sales executive is suing her former employer for invasion of privacy after using an app to track her movements. She has also alleged that she was fired from her position when she deleted the app.

Intermix, a firm which arranges money transfers, is alleged to be tracking employees while off-duty.

California-based, Myrna Arias was instructed to download Xora, a workplace management app, in April 2014 and was dismissed from her job in May 2014. She alleges that she was “scolded” for removing the app and fired a few weeks later.

The app allows employers to monitor mobile workers whereabouts using GPS and enables the company to ensure that workers are carrying out assigned tasks.

Court papers reveal that when questioned about the app by Arias, her manager admitted, “Employees would be monitored while off duty and bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she installed the app on her phone.” Arias said she didn’t mind being monitored at work, but being tracked while off-duty was an invasion of her privacy.

Mike Weston, CEO of data science consultancy Profusion, says:

“This action highlights the danger employers will face when they attempt to use data sources from apps or wearable devices to manage and retain staff.

“Analysing employee data from apps and wearable devices can help businesses to improve the morale and productivity of their staff if it is used responsibly. What it should not be used for is an additional mechanism of control. Not only will this rightly alienate employees, but it will also open the door to countless legal actions.

“It is essential for businesses to have both the trust and consent of their employees when they use tracking or other data in the workplace. One way to do this is to involve a third party that can create a barrier between the information collected from the employee and the data revealed to the employer. This significantly reduces the chance of employee information being misused and limits the scope of the data collected to only what the employer needs to know.”

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