GPS technology tracks employees

Denver Post | Dec 8, 2006

 gps_slaves

Chips using the technology can even be inserted into a human body

Larry Overley, president of Landtech Contractors, doesn’t have to wonder whether his employees are where they are supposed to be during the work day. Global Positioning System transmitters in each of the 50 trucks the landscaping company operates let him know where they are.

“It cuts down on guys leaving the job site. It helps us with our payroll costs because guys can’t fudge on their time sheet. We know when they get to the job, and we know when they leave the job,” he said.

The system, in use for six years, cut labor costs at the Aurora-based commercial landscaping company by about 3 percent in the first year.

The company is one of a growing number using GPS to keep track of workers, said Chad Orvis, an attorney with the Mountain States Employers Council, which advises businesses on human-resources practices.

Employers who use the technology, developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, rely on it to track employees who are off site, help lower fuel costs and increase productivity, Orvis said.

Beside GPS, companies track other work-related functions – e-mail and Internet use, for example. Radio-frequency identification technology is used in ID tags that make it possible for an employer to know when a person walked through a security door. Chips using the technology can even be inserted into a human body – but that’s unusual and used primarily in high-security environments.

The growing use of the technology causes concern among some privacy advocates.

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