Drivecam in company vehicle being misused...?

Discussion in 'Employment Contracts & Work Policies' started by WinstonSmith, Jun 18, 2012.

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  1. WinstonSmith

    WinstonSmith Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Greetings,

    The company I am currently employed by requires that all employees sign a waiver allowing the use of the Drivecam system in the provided work vehicles as a condition of employment. These devices are constantly recording and buffering 20 seconds of video and audio. When the accelerometer in the device detects a movement in excess of 3 Gs it triggers an "event," which means that from that moment, the previous and following 10 seconds of buffered footage will be saved and subsequently uploaded to a server somewhere for review. At this point the footage is viewable by a pretty large number of people, such as the regional manager, the office manager, the supervisors, a third party company who reviews footage, auditors, etc. The initial review has been outsourced to the third party, who watches the footage and notes whether the driver does anything during the clip that violates law or company policy. Following their findings it is viewed by our company's "safety expert," who writes a blurb about the event in the case that the driver was found to be violating policy, such as eating while driving. From that point it reaches the general manager, who also writes a blurb. The final part of the process as it relates to me is that the driver is contacted by his/her supervisor and instructed to meet somewhere in order to be shown the clip and hear what the safety expert and manager had to say about the event. These meetings are referred to as "coachings." After a certain number within a 45 day period an employee will be suspended, then fired.
    on to the question:
    Per company policy employees are to clock in upon their arrival at their first job site, and clock out before leaving their last job site. The employee manual states that "The time employees spend commuting in a Company-owned vehicle is an employee's own, personal time. During this time employees are just like any other ordinary commuter and are completely off duty from work. The Company does not restrict employees' personal activities or control employees' time during the commute. Because employees are not on duty during personal commuting time, they are prohibited from performing any work related activities (such as making or receiving work related cell phone calls) during that time."
    It also reads "Employees are free to use the company-owned vehicles for all normal, personal activities during their commute, including running incidental errands, or stopping at the grocery store. This time is the employee's time, and during the commute, the company-owned vehicle is just like any other normal commuter vehicle and is not a workplace or part of the company's premises."
    Despite this, if an employee triggers an event during their commute, the footage is made available to at least the aforementioned people, and I suspect all other management through out the company. Since starting with this company I have been "coached" on events that did not violate laws or safety standards which were triggered while off the clock and commuting home. Also, after work this weekend I pulled over to make a call to my doctor. after dialing the number i turned on the speaker function, placed the phone beside me on the seat, and began driving again. During the call, which was a discussion about prescriptions and an appointment, the drivecam was triggered during a left turn. Both hands were on the wheel, I was driving under the speed limit. No traffic laws were being broken. As I was off the clock and commuting home, does this constitute a breach of patient confidentiality? Also, is the fact that there are no safeguards in place preventing the employer from watching and listening to the employees during their commute legal, especially considering that employee's at that time are neither at a "workplace" or on "company premises" according to the manual? Basically, does this situation seem illegal, or is it just incredibly unethical? I feel that if employees can be reprimanded, suspended or fired for events during their commute, then they are due payment from the moment they enter the work vehicle to the moment they leave it at the end of the day. please advise.
    Thanks much in advance!!
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I see nothing actionable in the contents of your post.
    However, discuss your concerns with Human Resources officials, your manager, company legal staff, or company officers.
    You are always free to speak with an attorney.
    The initial consult is usually free.
     
  3. strider

    strider Guest

    See an attorney reg Drivecam sending video to a third party. Labor code 1051 makes it a misdemeanor for an employer to require as a condition of employment that an employees photo or fingerprint be sent to a third party if it could be to his detriment. (look up for exact wording). Its possible that the company making you sign a waiver may be the "smoking gun". To my knowledge no one has used this law yet. I found this law a month ago and forwarded it to my union business agent to submit to their attorneys. we are in the early stages of fighting it and hope for success

    In regard to your off duty driving.. I would cover the camera or unplug it during nonpaid time... I cover my camera during unpaid lunchbreaks (im hourly) my boss said I shouldnt cover it.. I told him if he wishes to direct and control my actions during my lunchbreak he will have to make my lunchtime paid time.. They backed off on that which is smart since im confident the labor commission would back me on it. Many companies have paid huge $$$$ for requiring workers to answer pagers or other work on unpaid lunch times. Before doing anything consult your union or an attorney.. I am not an attorney merely a shop Steward in the humble service of his coworkers.
     
  4. guestposter

    guestposter New Member

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    Have you heard anything back from your union we are try to fight this also
     
  5. Ducks

    Ducks New Member

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    This is also a problem with waste management the forced us to sign saying we didn't have a job if we didn't. It is the same situation third person review then coaching then suspension the termination even for employees with perfect records.
     
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