Employer Brags About Placing 24/7 Tracking App On Employee Phones, Fires Woman Who Deletes It

A sales executive for Intermex Wire Transfer in California says she was fired after she deleted a privacy-invading app placed on her phone by her employer. Myrna Arias says that the company required the woman to place an app called Xora onto her phone, which had 24/7 GPS tracking ability. Arias says that when she asked her employer about the app’s use when she was not at work, she was told the phone must be on at all times in order to take customer calls and that she should just deal with the privacy violation because she was being paid well for her job. When Arias decided to delete the app, she was later reprimanded and fired. Now Arias is suing the company for privacy violations and wrongful termination.

Courthouse News Service reports that Myrna Arias began working for Intermex Wire Transfer in February, 2014. However, in April, 2014, the company told Arias and a number of other sales executives that they must download a GPS tracking app called Xora onto their work phones. The app allowed the employer to track the employee’s whereabouts at anytime. However, upon looking into the app further, Arias approached management with privacy violation concerns, as the work phone was required to remain on even outside of business hours. As Arias noted, this would allow the employer to track the employee’s movements even when they were not at work.

Arias says that the vice president of sales at Intermex, John Stubits, acknowledged that the company could track the employee’s whereabouts and even “bragged” about knowing how fast the employees were driving when they weren’t at work. However, Stubits told Arias that she should “tolerate” the privacy intrusion because she was being paid more to work for Intermex than NetSpend, the company that Arias was recruited from.

“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. 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.”

The lawsuit notes that after a lot of consideration, Arias decided in late April to delete the app. As a result, Arias says she was reprimanded and subsequently fired when she refused to use the app outside of work. Arias says that in addition to violating her privacy, breaking labor codes in California, and firing her from her job, Intermex also called NetSpend to discuss Arias and her “disloyal” behavior.

“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.'”

Arias is quick to point out in the lawsuit that she met all her quotas while working at Intermex and had permission from Intermex to continue work for NetSpend for three months until her medical benefits kicked in at Intermex. Now, Arias says she is without a job due to objecting to a blatant privacy violation by her former employer.

What do you think about an employer tracking employee’s movements outside of work? Should Arias win her lawsuit against the company for requiring such a privacy-intrusive app on employee phones?

[Image Credit: Court Document]