Woman sues employer after being fired for deleting location-tracking app
TORONTO – A California woman has filed a lawsuit against her former employer after she was allegedly fired for deleting an app from her phone that allowed the company to track her whereabouts, even when she was off the clock.
Myrna Arias, who worked for money transfer company Intermex, alleges she was required to download workplace management app Xora as part of her position.
Xora allows companies to monitor mobile workers – in other words, anyone who isn’t in the office where their manager can see them.
The app allows employers to “see the location of every mobile worker on a Google Map” and pull up information like the address they are stopped at, how long they have been there, or what route they took.
This isn’t uncommon for companies with multiple employee’s on the road – businesses that have service technicians who drive from job to job, or even delivery teams, might use this type of software.
However, Arias alleges her employer was constantly tracking her location and trip details – even when she was off the clock.
According to court documents obtained by Ars Technia, Arias asked her manager whether the company would be tracking her movements while off duty after researching the app and speaking with a trainer from Xora.
“Stubits [her manager] admitted that employees would be monitored while off duty and bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she had installed the app on her phone,” read the document.
Although Arias said she had no problem with the app’s GPS-tracking feature during work hours, she objected to having her location tracked during non-work hours and told her manager it was illegal.
In late April, Arias’ de-installed the app from her phone to protect her privacy. The documents allege her manager scolded her for removing the app.
According to the lawsuit, she was fired just a few weeks later.
The lawsuit, which alleges invasion of privacy, wrongful termination, retaliation and violation of California’s labor code, seeks damages of more than US$500,000.
But these types of apps aren’t just limited to businesses.
Apple’s Find My Friends app, for example, allows friends to share their locations on a map. Of course, both parties must agree to share their locations through a friend request system – but there have been instances of people using it improperly.
Back in 2011, a website thread on Macrumors.com went viral after a man claimed he caught his wife cheating using the app.
“I got my wife a new 4s and loaded up find my friends without her knowing. She told me she was at her friends house in the east village. I’ve had suspicions about her meeting this guy who live uptown. Lo and behold, Find my Friends has her right there,” read the thread titled “Divorcing Wife. Thanks iPhone 4S and Find My Friends.”
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