A Bakersfield woman claims that she was fired after uninstalling an app on her phone. The woman worked for a money transfer service called Intermex as a sales executive. Intermex is a company that processes payments between the U.S. and Latin America. It has 30,000 locations and offers services in 45 states and 16 countries. When she was hired, the woman was working for a rival, NetSpend. Intermex agreed to let the woman work for both NetSpend and Intermex for three months for insurance purposes.
The woman worked for Intermex for three months and allegedly did well at her job, meeting all sales quotas and earning around $7,250 per month. However, everything changed after she had been working at the company for two months. Her boss told her to install an app called Xora that tracked her movements 24 hours a day, seven days a week, onto her company-issued iPhone.
After she was asked to install Xora, the woman did some research into the app. She also spoke with a trainer from Xora. The woman and her coworkers asked her boss whether the company would be monitoring their movements while they were off duty. The boss admitted that the company would monitor employees’ movements. He also bragged that he knew how fast the woman had been driving at specific times since the app had been on her phone. According to the complaint, the company’s management could see her driving speeds, roads taken, and time spent at customer locations.
The woman explained to her boss that she was fine with the app and its GPS function while she was at work, but that she did not want to be monitored during non-work hours. She told the boss that the app was an invasion of her privacy. According to the woman, there was no way to turn off the app when she was at home. Even when she shut down the app, it would still run in the background. In addition, the woman’s boss made it clear that he was using the program to continuously monitor her during company time as well as personal time.
She uninstalled the app and was fired a few weeks later, in May 2014. Intermex was so angry with the woman, according to the complaint, that it called NetSpend to tell the company that she was working at both jobs. NetSpend fired the woman after the phone call. Intermex also fired her. The woman has had a hard time finding a new job and is suing for damages in excess of $500,000, alleging that Intermex violated her privacy and engaged in unfair business practices and retaliation.
As technology continues to become more advanced and readily available, more cases involving employers spying on their employees are likely to come up. By law, employers can monitor their employees for legitimate business interests, like productivity and quality control. Employees generally have no privacy rights to their work emails or anything they do on the computer at work. Video recordings are normally legal too, as long as they are used for a reasonable purpose.
However, forcing an employee to install an app that monitors his or her movements when he or she is not at work may be considered an illegal invasion of privacy. In order to win her case, the woman must show that the company violated her legal rights by forcing her to install that app.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that anyone who is illegally spied on by an employer should hold that employer liable for damages. Call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland employment attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000 to schedule a free consultation on your case.