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Sales Exec Fired for Refusing to Install 24/7 Tracking App on Smartphone, Sues Company

http://youtu.be/_n5cxeeNRPs
Myrna Arias, a sales executive who lives in Kern County, California, is suing Intermex, a wire-transfer company, for wrongful termination, claiming that she was fired for refusing to install a tracking app on her smartphone that would monitor her off-hours location.

According to a Courthouse News Service report that describes the lawsuit, Intermex recruited Ms. Arias while she was working for Netspend, a money-transfer competitor. She requested that Intermex allow her to continue work with Netspend in order to maintain health benefits during a new-hire waiting period, and Intermex agreed. A couple of months into her new employment, her boss, Intermex’s regional vice president of sales John Stubits, told Arias and other employees that they would have to download an app from Xora onto their smartphones that “contained a global positioning system function which tracked the exact location of the person possessing the smartphones on which it was installed.” When she refused, she was fired. Intermex then called Netspend and informed them of her overlapping employment- and Netspend fired her as well. Courthouse News Service explains:

Arias says in her complaint that she researched the app and asked Stubits if Intermex would be tracking her whereabouts when she was off the clock.
“Stubits admitted that employees would be monitored while off duty and bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she had installed the app on her phone,” Arias says in her complaint. “Plaintiff expressed that she had no problem with the app’s GPS function during work hours, but she objected to the monitoring of her location during non-work hours and complained to Stubits that this was an invasion of her privacy. She likened the app to a prisoner’s ankle bracelet and informed Stubits that his actions were illegal. Stubits replied that she should tolerate the illegal intrusion because Intermex was paying plaintiff more than NetSpend.”
Stubits also told Arias she had to keep her phone on “24/7” to assist clients, and “scolded” her when she uninstalled the app to protect her privacy, the complaint adds.
Arias says Intermex fired her a few weeks later

/snip/

Arias objected to the app because there was no way to turn it off when she was at home. Even if she shut down the app on her phone, it would still be running in the background, Glick said.
“She found it very offensive that they were treating her like a felon,” she added. “She was not underperforming, so there was no reason to monitor her.”
To make matters worse, Glick said, Intermex was so angry at her objection to the app that it went “above and beyond a normal wrongful termination and interfered with her ability to earn a livelihood.”
Arias says in her complaint that Robert Lisy, Intermex’s president and CEO, “telephoned John Nelson, vice president of NetSpend, and informed Nelson that plaintiff had been disloyal to NetSpend and was employed by Intermex. As a result of Lisy’s intentional and malicious interference with plaintiff’s contract with NetSpend, NetSpend fired plaintiff promptly. NetSpend specifically cited Lisy’s phone call as the reason for the decision to terminate plaintiff,” the complaint states.

Ms. Arias’s lawsuit claims violation of the right to privacy and California labor laws, unfair business practices, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

Should companies be allowed to track workers’ movements on and off the clock with smartphone apps?

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  • Frederick Leatherman

    This is really outrageous. Next thing you know will be a requirement to submit or be fired to 24/7 video monitoring by multiple cameras in the home, including the bedroom and bathroom.

  • Chris Maukonen

    NO !

  • Chris Maukonen

    But then I know code that I could put on the servers that would fry every disk in their data base. You do not fuck with me.

  • Rachel

    OMG, I love that!

  • http://www.hudechrome.com Lawrence Hudetz

    Two words:

    Fuck, NO!

  • http://www.hudechrome.com Lawrence Hudetz

    One of the perks of having a really old cell Phone (2G or not 2G, that is the question!) no GPS. No apps, and I have no app(itite) for one.

  • Rachel

    I know, right. Suppose someone had to visit the dialysis center a couple of times a week. Or the religious service. Perhaps someone has a bit of a gambling addiction. Or not. Doesn’t matter. Off the clock is private, end of story.

  • http://www.hudechrome.com Lawrence Hudetz

    Thinking further, I wonder if first responders may be required to have this installation, particularly firefighters or any other service that uses the 24 on duty 48 off. Reason why is during a serious call up, the off duty people would have to be able to respond, which means the officers in charge have to know where they are. Of course, that would also benefit them during the emergency response as well.

  • Frederick Leatherman

    Another possibility would be going to an abortion clinic. No one has a right to know that or any other medical procedure.

  • Chris Maukonen

    I do not take my cell with me most of the time. Lived for years with only a land line phone and got along just fine thankyouverymuch.

  • Shutter

    Flip-phones forever!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’m with Lawrence: “Fuck no.” This is an absolutely outrageous invasion of privacy.

    On top of everything else, why the hell does a wire transfer company need to track its employees 24/7? What legitimate business case can be made for such an intrusive surveillance measure? I sure can’t think of any, other than the Intermex VP being a fucking control freak.

  • Shutter

    “AT&T is preparing to pull the plug on its 2G wireless network, but it will be a long goodbye.

    The Dallas telecommunications company said it plans to discontinue its 2G network, also known as EDGE or GSM, by Jan. 1, 2017. It plans to take that 2G spectrum and re-use it to augment its 3G and 4G wireless services. The plans were disclosed in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

  • Alice X

    If you have a cell or a laptop with video they might have 24/7 video already.

  • Alice X

    Lots of computers here (old and older) but no cell phone. I am a dinosaur.

    Edward Herman:

    The national security state is an instrument of class warfare. Organized and designed to permit an elite, local and national, to operate without any restraint of democratic process.

  • http://www.hudechrome.com Lawrence Hudetz

    Won’t make any difference for strictly cell phone use. Mine runs CDMA which is compatible with 3G networks. In fact, I really don’t know on which standard my phone operates. No video streaming, I don’t even use the camera.

  • http://www.hudechrome.com Lawrence Hudetz

    I take it more these days because of the angina.

  • John Kelly

    And urine samples… oh, wait, they already do that. Next: cavity searches and brain tissue samples, since there has been so little outrage at drug testing for a cashier’s job etc. Sheep don’t notice until it is too late. Sheep make excuses for the surveillance state, corporate surveillance, and drug testing, not aware of the long term erosion of their rights until the erosion is actually a land slide of Fascism, and they are now submissive-worker-drones choking on the tyranny they supported all along.

  • pelham

    What we need is corporate accountability. We need a way collectively, as citizens, to cancel or radically modify the charters of corporations that we deem not to be serving the public interest or the nation. After all, these charters are granted on our behalf, and we therefore have every right to exterminate or reorganize corporations that we don’t like — for whatever reason.

    Popular vote via Internet would serve nicely. In this case, we could simply vote Intermex into the cornfield or mandate that employees shall henceforth run the place on a one-person, one-vote basis, putting management in its place.

    If shareholders don’t like it, hey, that’s just one of the risks they take when they invest in these bum outfits.

  • Rachel

    NPR Politics ‏@nprpolitics 2h2 hours ago

    Live Blog: Facing Midnight Deadline, The Senate Debates Parts Of The Patriot Act http://n.pr/1PXgLZ2

    NPR News

    Live Blog: Facing Midnight Deadline, The Senate Debates Parts Of The…

    If the Senate fails to act before midnight, one of the most controversial parts of the Patriot Act — which allows for the bulk collection of phone records — will end.

  • Molly

    Should companies be allowed to track workers’ movements on and off the clock with smartphone apps?

    No, and HELL NO! I don’t think companies should be allowed to use GPS software to track employees who are ON the clock.

  • Molly

    I am never without mine, unless I’m in bed. And I don’t use it all that much for talking on. I use email and grocery list and text messages (iMessage) and Gas Buddy and sometimes Google Maps, and streaming music, and Apple Pay, and weather data, and….and…

    But phone calls? Actual talking to people? Not so much.

  • Rachel

    I actually have a flip phone! Sure do.

  • FukTheArmy

    Sue the bastards! (All the way to Alpha Centauri and back again)

  • FukTheArmy

    I got a cell phone several years ago because pay phones are disappearing like the passenger pigeon.

  • Rachel

    I agree.

    On the subject of dragnet surveillance, senate is in session this evening, to debate on the topic of the Patriot Act (NSA bulk surveillance), which is set to expire at midnight.

  • Rachel

    That last malicious twist in the story where her current employer got onto the phone and informed Netspend that she was moonlighting- so Netspend fired her as well- to me, that qualified for the issue of interfering with a person’s ability to make a living.

    But the off-hours surveillance thing…just….no. As Molly says, no and NO.

  • Rachel

    Never thought of that. Good question!

  • NightriderXP1

    What I have heard from other sites that ran this story is that the Smart Phone was a company phone, not a personal cell phone. The company used the tracking software to determine which employee was closest to the general vicinity of a job assignment, I’m guessing similar to how Uber determines which driver is closest to a passenger waiting for a pickup…

    Where this crossed the line was that the employer admitted to tracking its employees even when there was no business to assign to them. He was using it for personal reasons other than business…

  • Rachel

    Thank you Nightrider.

  • Coach Bill

    Why does she not have company provided phone?

    No way I ever grant my employer access to my personnel phone.