Friday, May 15, 2015

California woman files invasion of privacy suit against ex-employer over tracking app

A California woman lost not one but two jobs as a result of disabling a GPS app that tracked her movements 24 hours a day. Now, she’s suing the employer who mandated she install and keep the app active, even when she wasn’t working, for invasion of privacy, Labor Code violations and wrongful termination.

The plaintiff, Myrna Arias, of Kern County, Calif., is suing Intermex Wire Transfer LLC, a Florida company that does business in California and specializes in money remittance services to Latin America. She’s seeking damages in excess of $500,000.

According to a copy of the suit, which was posted on Ars Technica, a technology news and information website, on May 11, Arias went to work for Intermex in February 2014, while also continuing to work for her previous employer.

The suit states that Arias was fired shortly after uninstalling the job-management app, Xora, which is a Cloud-based software used by service companies to schedule and dispatch field service employees, according to the company’s website.

Arias and other Intermex employees were instructed to download the app to their smartphones. The app contains a GPS function, which tracks the exact location of the person possessing the smartphone. The lawsuit states that when Arias and other co-workers asked whether the company would be monitoring their movements while off duty, Intermex Vice President for Regional Sales John Stubits allegedly admitted as such and “bragged that he knew how fast (Arias) was driving at specific moments ever since she had installed the app on her phone,” according to the suit.

Arias’ complaint said that while she had “no problem” with the app’s GPS function during work hours, she objected to being monitored during her non-work hours and complained that the app was really an invasion of her privacy, likening it to a prisoner’s ankle bracelet. Intermex employees were reportedly required to keep their phones on at all times in order to answer calls from clients.

Within weeks of deleting the app, Arias was not only fired from Intermex, but her suit alleges that the company also played a role in getting her fired from her second job as well.

Here’s hoping the state court does the right thing and protects workers’ privacy when they’re not on company time.