Woman claims a wrongful termination after removing smartphone app

There are many positive aspects to the increased use of technology and its capabilities. Unfortunately, this can also lead to privacy issues that can transcend into the California workplace. Many companies are requiring workers to use their smartphones as part of their jobs to help facilitate administrative duties, such as keeping track of hours worked. However, when employees find that their privacy has been compromised, and they do not agree to using the technology, the company may handle the situation by firing the workers, which can lead to wrongful termination claims.

A woman who worked for Intermex as a sales executive is accusing the company of firing her because she refused to keep an app on her phone. The plaintiff was given a company-issued smartphone to use and was required to have the Xora app on the device. This app allowed employees to manage paperwork and even log the time they had worked. The Xora app also has GPS tracking capability, allowing management to know where their employees are at all times.

Having questions about the app, the plaintiff began to research and question if the app would be able to track where she was even when she was not at work. She allegedly asked her manager if that could happen, and he admitted that the app could do that. Her supervisor purportedly also said that he could tell how fast she was driving since she installed the app.

After her discovery, the California woman was no longer comfortable and decided to un-install the app. She was allegedly reprimanded by her supervisor and then fired. Prior to this incident, the plaintiff claims that she did not have any disciplinary action on her record. She is suing Intermex and accusing the company of wrongful termination and invasion of her privacy. If she is successful in her civil court claim, she may be awarded the $500,000 she is seeking.

Source: abc15.com, "California woman says she was fired for disabling work phone GPS", Alyssa Newcomb, May 13, 2015

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