Employee GPS Tracking
Is it Legal in the US?

Written by Asim Qureshi
By Asim Qureshi, CEO Jibble

Hi, I’m Asim Qureshi, the CEO and co-founder of Jibble, a cloud-based time and attendance software. I have several years of experience in building and scaling software products and teams across various industries and markets. Before I founded Jibble, I worked as a VP at Morgan Stanley for six years. I’m passionate about helping businesses improve their productivity and performance through smart time management practices.


In the US, employers are generally permitted to track their employees’ location while they are on the clock. Employee GPS tracking can also help employers comply with labor laws and requirements. For example, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to keep accurate records of their employees’ hours worked in order to ensure that they are paid fairly. Therefore, some employers use GPS tracking as a way to ensure that they keep accurate records of their employees’ working hours.

Many companies use time tracking and attendance apps that have a GPS tracking feature. These apps enable employees to easily clock in and out, track their working hours, check in and out of different locations, and more.

This is all well and good, but the question remains: is employee GPS tracking legal in the US? The short answer is yes, it’s legal, with certain caveats and conditions that employers have to meet to make sure that everything is above board.

GPS tracking also has a range of advantages for both the employer and the employees, but it’s not without risks. However, when used properly, employers and employees can benefit from the use of GPS tracking apps.

depiction of employee GPS tracking apps

This Article Covers:

What is Employee GPS Tracking?

Employers use global positioning system (GPS) systems to monitor the location and movements of employees during work hours. This technology can be used to track employees who work remotely and on-site, as well as employees who have to travel for work.

Companies use GPS tracking for a variety of reasons, including monitoring employee productivity, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations, tracking company equipment, and more.

Is Employee GPS Tracking Legal in the US?

The FLSA doesn’t specifically mention anything about companies tracking employees via GPS. GPS tracking is also not illegal in any US state, as long as employees are aware of and consent to being tracked by their employers. It’s also important to note that companies should only track their employees during work hours.

Consent is the operative word in ensuring that you stay within the bounds of the law when you track your employees’ location. Employees must consent to having their movements and location tracked by their employer via GPS. There also needs to be a legitimate reason for tracking employees.

Are There Different State Laws on GPS Tracking Employees?

Generally, employers in the US are legally allowed to track the location of their employees as long as their employees consent to the use of GPS tracking apps and devices.

However, there are some specific requirements when GPS tracking involves cars.


Employers in California are not allowed to use GPS to track their employees without the express consent of said employees. However, employers have the legal right to track the location of company cars, regardless of whether or not their employees consent.

New York

Employers can only track company-owned cars during work hours. However, if employees use their own cars for work, employers must first obtain their consent before tracking them.


The case of Tubbs v. Wynne found that employers can track the location and movements of company-owned cars during work hours.

Washington State

Generally, employers have the right to track company cars, and this right supercedes the employee’s right to privacy. However, there are limits to the extent of GPS tracking, which employers should be aware of.


According to an article in the Florida Law Review titled “GPS and Cell Phone Tracking of Employees,” Employers can GPS track employee-owned cars as long as they have their employees’ consent. However, employers can legally track cars as long as they’re company-owned.

What are the Benefits of GPS Tracking Employees?

Employers use GPS to track their employees for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Monitoring productivity: With the data provided by GPS tracking, managers can gain insight into employee movements. This can help them assess whether or not the company’s operations are running smoothly.
  • Ensuring compliance: GPS tracking can help companies stay compliant with certain regulations. This includes accurately tracking and recording the hours worked by employees in compliance with FLSA requirements.
  • Monitoring employee safety: GPS tracking can show managers where field employees are, which can help ensure the safety of employees. This can be especially helpful is employees have to go to potentially dangerous locations or situations, or if they have to operate dangerous equipment.
  • Monitoring employee efficiency: Managers can use data gleaned from GPS tracking to assess employee performance.
  • Preventing theft: By tracking the whereabouts of employees during work hours, employers will also be able to track the location of company equipment, such as company cars. GPS tracking can also prevent the unauthorized use of said equipment.

What are the Risks of GPS Tracking Employees?

GPS tracking software and devices can experience bugs glitches, and other kinds of failures.

  • Privacy and cybersecurity concerns: Real-time location tracking can raise some privacy concerns for employees. There’s also the possibility of cybersecurity attacks, which can compromise the employees’ personal data as well as the company’s data.
  • Decrease in employee morale: GPS tracking, when not introduced properly, can make employees feel that their managers don’t trust them to do their jobs correctly. This can thus have a negative impact on employee morale.
  • Potential legal issues: GPS tracking needs to be handled correctly, otherwise it can lead to problems down the line. Mismanaging the deployment of GPS tracking apps and the data they collect can open the company up to legal issues concerning employee monitoring.
  • Potential micromanagement: Micromanagement is always possible, even more so if a manager can track the locations of their employees during work hours. If managers aren’t properly trained in how to handle GPS tracking correctly, it can lead to resentment and decreased motivation in employees.

What are the Best GPS Tracking Practices for Employers?

Here are some tips that can help you ensure that GPS tracking won’t be misused or lead to more problems for your company:

  • Explain the purpose of GPS tracking to employees.
  • Before putting a GPS tracking policy into place, make sure that your employees consent to having their location tracked during working hours.
  • Get your employees’ consent in writing.
  • Make sure that GPS tracking is limited to working hours only.
  • Make sure that employees are fully aware that their location will be tracked while using company equipment, during working hours, or both.
  • Have an open discussion about GPD tracking with your employees and address any concerns they might have.
  • Develop a company-wide policy that clearly outlines the acceptable and unacceptable uses of company-owned equipment.
  • Use data collected from GPS tracking to improve productivity and identify things that can still be improved. Don’t use the data for micromanaging or disciplining employees.
  • Consult with lawyers or HR professionals to ensure that you are using GPS tracking systems within the bounds of the law.

Final Thoughts

Consent is the most important aspect in discussions of employee GPS tracking. While there are currently no federal laws specifically prohibiting employers from GPS tracking their employees, employers still have to make sure that they have their employees’ consent to being monitored.

Ultimately, it’s illegal in the US to track an employee who does not consent to GPS tracking.

GPS tracking is a powerful tool that can be used to improve employee safety, productivity, and compliance. However, it is important for employers to be aware of the legal and ethical implications of using this technology. While there are benefits and risks to GPS tracking employees, companies need to make sure that they use it carefully.