UNDP

Voice & Privacy

Business uses location tracking devices to monitor employees without consent

 

Surveillance (e.g., through the utilization of location tracking devices) is a highly intrusive act that can interfere with an employee’s right to privacy if the interference is unjustified, arbitrary or unlawful.

 

Although the right of privacy is not absolute, any instance of interference should only be carried out following an assessment of its legality, necessity and proportionality. National laws will ordinarily prescribe the circumstances in which conducting surveillance is justified, and the procedures which must be followed by persons wishing to conduct such surveillance. If interference is determined to be legal (in compliance with national laws) and necessary (e.g., to protect and enhance operations, or for health and safety), businesses should consider, among other things, if there are less invasive methods to achieve the same result.

 

If a business considers it necessary to use location tracking devices (such as for delivery drivers), the business should ensure all employees who will be tracked have given their free, specific, informed and unambiguous consent. The business should clearly explain its purpose for using such devices, and employees should be given a genuine choice as to whether to provide consent or not. Employees usually have less bargaining power compared with their employer and may feel pressured into complying with their employer’s wishes for fear of adversely impacting their job security. Employees should also be provided with the opportunity to withdraw consent at any time afterwards.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Article 12
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, Article 17
Declaration on the Use of Scientific and Technological Progress in the Interests of Peace and for the Benefit of Mankind, 1975, Articles 2, 6 and 8