How will your employees react?
A common concern raised by fleet managers before installing a fleet management system is that their staff will not react well to the change.
On the face of it, installing vehicle tracking might suggest to your workforce that you don’t trust them any more. They may, quite understandably, feel uncomfortable with the idea that you are monitoring their every move. After all, GPS is a form of surveillance and not many people really like that idea – at least initially.
Of course, these days we are watched at all times; there are CCTV cameras everywhere monitoring our every move in public spaces, and even not-so-public spaces. We are so used to it that we forget they are there, which is probably why so many people get caught on camera committing some crime or other.
However, when it comes to the workplace, it is a whole different situation. It becomes more personal, since the person with access to the data is the boss.
And this why it’s so important that care is be taken to avoid alienating your staff or making them resentful.
UK Employment Law
The crux of the matter is the fact that vehicle tracking systems gather information not only about the vehicles in your fleet, but also the individuals driving the vehicles in your fleet. In other words, vehicle tracking devices gather information that could be deemed as an infringement of privacy by your employees.
However, it is a bit of a grey area as an individual who is employed by a third party or employer is not usually subject to privacy when in work time and working under contracted hours.
That said there is various legislation in place to regulate the use of information gathered on employees and can be found in the following:
- Employment Rights Act 1996
- Data Protection Act 1998
- Human Rights Act 1998
- The European Convention of Human Rights
While there is nothing written in any of the above documents that is specifically aimed at vehicle tracking, a special mention is made to vehicle tracking by the trade union UNITE and The Employment Practices Code issued by the Information Commissioners Office who issue the same statement:
“Devices can record or transmit information such as the location of a vehicle, the distance it has covered and information about the user’s driving habits. Monitoring of vehicle movements, where the vehicle is allocated to a specific driver, and information about the performance of the vehicle can therefore be linked to a specific individual, will fall within the scope of the Data Protection Act.”
“Where private use of a vehicle is allowed, monitoring its movements when used privately, without the freely given consent of the user, will rarely be justified. If the vehicle is for both private and business use, it ought to be possible to provide a ‘privacy button’ or similar arrangement to enable the monitoring to be disabled. Where an employer is under a legal obligation to monitor the use of vehicles, even if used privately, for example by fitting a tachograph to a lorry, then the legal obligation will take precedence.”
See our article on vehicle tracking and the law for more information.
Planning Your Installation of Vehicle Tracking
If you are an employer looking at installing vehicle tracking systems in your fleet, you would be advised to do two things before you proceed with your plan:
1. Discuss your strategy with your employees first
Your staff will appreciate the consultation rather than arrive one morning at work to find they are suddenly “under surveillance”.
Point out the benefits to them that vehicle tracking can provide, because there are numerous ways that vehicle tracking can actually safeguard drivers as well as provide you with cost-savings.
Explain that vehicle tracking can be a “win-win-win” situation for you as the employer, but also them as your drivers and thirdly your customers who will appreciate the improved service you are providing.
2. Draw up a policy statement and issue to all employees
Once you have discussed it openly with your employees and listened to their opinions and answered their questions, draft a policy statement on vehicle tracking making sure you include the relevant information relating to UK law, Human Rights, Employees Rights and the Data Protection Act.
To be absolutely confident you have covered everything it might be best to seek the advice of a solicitor expert in employment law.
The employer and employee should always bear in mind that when it comes to an alleged crime being committed, generally speaking all data and information pertaining to any individual whether at work or in society at large is usually exempt from Data Protection and other privacy laws.
If you are considering a vehicle tracking system for your fleet, be sure to get quotes from a number of suppliers before you choose. Use the button below to complete get quotes tailored to you in less than a minute.