Why bosses can track their employees 24/7

It’s hard to know just how widespread GPS tracking is in the United States, especially because companies don’t always have to notify their employees if and when they’re tracking them. A survey released last month offered a few hints: Nearly a third of people who responded said their employer tracks them by GPS, and 15 percent said they were tracked 24 hours a day. More than 22 percent said they weren’t told they would be tracked when they started their job.

The survey was paid for by TSheets, a time-tracking software company. Its apps, when installed on employees’ phones, allow businesses to track their workers on the job. The apps report each worker’s location to supervisors every five to 10 minutes. TSheets used its survey to argue that employees warm up to GPS tracking once they’re subjected to it.

A spokesperson for TSheets said the app’s location-tracking feature automatically shuts off when employees clock out for the day, but that if the employee forgets to clock out, the app will continue sending the phone’s location.

Employees can also choose to manually shut off location reporting on their phone, but what happens if they do is up to their bosses.

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