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.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

From the vault: Trucker’s 1973 account of being ‘blinded’ by a UFO

It’s not Throwback Thursday yet, but The Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau is tossing it way back in their archives with a story about a trucker’s close encounter with a UFO.

In a blog post on Wednesday, the newspaper republished in its entirety an Oct. 4, 1973, account of truck driver Eddie Webb’s brush with a flying saucer, which he says left him temporarily blinded.

Webb spoke with two Missourian reporters, recounting for them a tale of an unidentified flying object that hovered above his truck on Interstate 55. According to the report, the object, which looks not unlike a piece of Candy Corn, hovered over the interstate for two to three minutes, with lights flashing brightly.

Webb told the reporters and law enforcement that the flashing lights blinded him. He even submitted his “nearly melted pair of eyeglasses” as evidence that something must’ve happened to him.

The whole account is worth reading, especially for the description of the UFO, which in Webb’s own words looked like “a big turnip.”

“The bottom and top sections were spinning and looked like they were made from aluminum or chrome,” he said in the article. “The center section had the lights on it and wasn’t spinning, but the lights were glittering and the red and yellow seemed to mix together.”

Eventually Webb stuck his head out the window and claimed to wind up with burns and nearly melted glasses when the object disappeared in a flash.

Most interestingly, Webb’s wife Velma Mae, also a trucker, was in the cab with him at the time. Although she claimed not to have seen the lights, she verified parts of her husband’s tale.

Ever have a close encounter of your own? Tell us about it in the comments.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Trucking needs more people like Sandy Long

Sandy Long’s accomplishments and accolades are as vast and diverse as the trucking career she has embraced for more than 42 years. She’s seen a lot of just about everything out there.

Sandy has logged more than 3 million safe miles and has been a mentor to many other drivers over the years. She is a prolific and thoughtful writer, a social media moderator, a senior life member of OOIDA and a charter member of Women In Trucking.
OOIDA Senior Life Member Sandy Long
shares some wisdom and gratitude
during a ceremony that named a TA travel
center as the "Sandy Long Travel Center
Oak Grove, Mo." Photo by Sandi Soendker,
Land Line Magazine

And now, she has a TA travel center named after her.

Friends and family were on hand on Monday, May 11, to cheer Sandy on during the official renaming of the “Sandy Long Travel Center” in Oak Grove, Mo.

Sandy was as cool as a cucumber on this day, accepting of the award but also turning her appreciation outward to others she has looked up to – her mother and three brothers including her late brother, Tom, who was her trucking mentor and will always be her hero.

Sandy was named one of five Citizen Drivers by TravelCenters of America during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., back in March. Part of that award, which recognizes integrity and leadership in the profession, included having a TA travel center or Petro Stopping Center renamed in their honor. Sandy got to pick the TA, and she chose Oak Grove “because the food is good, the coffee is hot, and they have a Popeye’s!”

Anyone who knows Sandy or who has interacted with her online via various trucking forums and social media pages knows that in addition to being wise about the issues and caring about others, she also has lightning quick wit and a knack for putting others at ease.

The "Sandy Long Travel Center Oak Grove, Mo.," is located
at Exit 28 on Interstate 70
When asked to give a few remarks, she told TA’s Peter Ward that he may have made a mistake by letting a truck driver have the microphone and an audience. It had its intended effect and drew a good laugh.

In all honesty, giving Sandy a microphone and an audience is never a mistake. In fact, we need more people like Sandy Long to grab up the reins, to stand up to the issues, to share her knowledge and experiences and shatter any preconceived notions that people have about trucking or truck drivers.

It’s highly likely that Sandy is already teaching and inspiring future trucking ambassadors and Citizen Drivers. “It’s an old concept but a good one if you ask me,” she said about mentoring.

There were some nice tributes to Sandy, the Citizen Drivers and Women In Trucking. They came in remarks from TA’s Peter Ward, from Women In Trucking President Ellen Voie, and city officials from Sandy’s hometown of Marceline, Mo. They also came in song form by Lindsay Lawler, a very talented Nashville singer who is currently out on a truck stop tour.

With Sandy being a Missouri resident – and since Oak Grove is just down the road from OOIDA headquarters – we were glad to be there to show our support.

Click here and here to learn more about the Citizen Driver Award recipients. They’re an impressive group. Four out of the five recipients this year are also OOIDA members.