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Geolocation of company vehicles: what rights and duties do the company and its employees have?

Tracking company vehicles is becoming more and more common. Indeed, it is sometimes necessary for a better management or logistics of the company’s cars to know in real time where they are. This practice is common and legal, but the employer must respect certain rules.

The geolocation of vehicle fleets is governed by rules. These guidelines are issued by the CNIL, the RGPD regulations and the labor code, they allow to follow a fleet of vehicles legally. Placing GPS trackers in company cars implies strict conditions of use.

The rules apply to both employees and the company. The rights and duties are not the same either way, but each party must comply with the regulations in force on the tracking of company fleets.

In case of non-compliance with the rights and duties of each party, the labor code, the RGPD regulation or the CNIL guidelines, there may be sanctions. The sanctions can be heavy, especially for the employer who can have very high fines.

The rights and duties of the company to follow a fleet of vehicles

The duties of the company to install GPS trackers in cars

Deciding and informing: the employer’s mandatory steps

Before installing GPS trackers in the fleet of company vehicles, the company must carry out a certain number of compulsory formalities, in particular with the staff representatives and the employees. Indeed, the employer must inform all employees of the company of the installation of GPS trackers in their cars.
The company must also take other steps, such as defining the exact purposes of the chosen geolocation system and defining a system for organizing data collection. These purposes will be important since they must be monitored and not misused, under penalty of sanction or refusal from the employees to be geolocated. Moreover, the reason for tracking must be legitimate. Find out in advance about all the steps to be taken by the company that wishes to track its fleet of vehicles.

Compliance with the fundamental principles of employee vehicle tracking

The company that installs GPS trackers in its vehicles has a legitimate tracking purpose. However, this does not mean that the company has to track all vehicles excessively, all the time.
The company should not be vigilant about employee compliance with traffic laws. For example, if the GPS tracker placed in the car informs about the speed of the vehicle, the company should not monitor it.

Some types of employees cannot be geolocated. These are staff representatives, sales representatives or generally employees who are free to travel.

Traceur visible et consenti

Protection of personal data of traced employees

The company must comply with RGPD regulations and the time limit on data collection. Beyond the regulatory time limit, the employer must delete the data. The right to data is fundamental to control the geolocation of employees’ vehicles, whether they belong to the company or are private.

The table below shows how long the company must keep the data before it is deleted, according to the different uses.

Duration Application
2 months Basic principle
1 year

– Optimization of the rounds

– Proof of intervention (no other way is possible)

2 years Monitoring of working time

The company must collect data only during defined working hours, especially when the car is also used outside of working hours. The employer must be able to give the employees access to their data by any means.

The company’s rights on the follow-up of its vehicle fleet

Right to locate certain types of vehicles

The company has the right to track its employees’ vehicles if the reason is legitimate. It is a legal way to monitor a fleet of vehicles in real time and at a distance. Employees cannot object to it, except in certain special cases.

There are different types of vehicles depending on the company: vehicles belonging to the company that are used only during working hours, those that are also used outside of working hours but still belong to the company, and finally vehicles that are privately owned but used for work.
The company has the right to track company-owned vehicles without the consent of the employees. In the case of a private vehicle, the employer must ask the employee for consent before installing a GPS tracker in the car.
Below is a table of the types of company vehicles that can be tracked, as well as the restrictions on tracking in each case.

Type of vehicle Use Legitimacy Restrictions
Company owned vehicle Only working hours Legitimate Follow-up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Working hours + non-working hours Legitimate Follow-up during working hours
Private vehicle Working hours + non-working hours Consent Tracking and difference between private and professional km

Legitimate reasons for tracking employees’ cars

The employer has the right to place GPS trackers in its fleet of vehicles in the following cases:

  • Calculation of remuneration in relation to the time worked. If another means is possible, the company must not use GPS trackers to calculate the working time of employees. However, this is still possible if other systems have not been installed beforehand.
  • Optimization and management of vehicle trajectories in dispersed areas.
  • Pricing of a service and justification through GPS trajectories (transport of people, goods, services, etc.)
  • Security of employees or other passengers in the vehicle, fight against theft.
  • Control of the respect of the rules concerning the use of the vehicle.
  • Legal obligation to follow a vehicle according to its nature or its content.
Analyse des positions et trajectoires

Analyze the trajectories of the company vehicle

The company and the person in charge of data collection has the right to analyze all trajectories and information collected by GPS trackers in cars during the entire legal retention period, usually two months.
Following this analysis, the company has the right to act accordingly. For example, it can sanction an employee who uses the vehicle outside working hours, but also adapt the pay slip according to the overtime worked.

Rights and duties of employees who have a GPS tracker in their car

Employees’ duties towards the company that installs GPS trackers in their cars

Employees must agree to have their vehicles tracked if there is a legitimate reason

When a company uses a geolocation system for its fleet of vehicles legally, the employees who are tracked must respect the decision to track their vehicle. Even if they are opposed to it, they are obliged to accept. Indeed, geolocation is sometimes a necessity for the company and for the management of the associated equipment.
The company can sanction an employee who deactivates the GPS tracker of his vehicle too often and who does not wish to be located.

The rights of employees following the monitoring of their vehicle by the company

The employee must have access to the geolocation data of his vehicle

The employee must have the right to the data and positions emitted by the GPS tracker in his vehicle. This right is divided into four parts: the right to access, the right to rectify, the right to justify and the right to delete. For this, the company must share the access to the interface by any means.

Salarié avec accès aux données gps

The employee must be able to deactivate the GPS tracker of his car

The employee must be able to easily deactivate the GPS tracker in his vehicle. It is up to the employer to explain to the employee how to deactivate the tracker: this can be by unplugging it, by pressing it or from the associated interface, for example.
The disconnection will be regulated by the employer and according to the case. If the employee owns a vehicle that belongs to the company but is also used outside of work, it is logical that he/she will have to deactivate the GPS tracker when using the vehicle for personal use. However, if the vehicle is to be used only for work, the GPS tracker will not be deactivated in order to detect any suspicious movement.

The employee has the right to all information concerning his GPS tracker

Even if the GPS tracker does not have to be visible in the vehicle and can be hidden (we advise an optimal discretion for the fight against vehicle thefts, for example), the employee must be warned that the company wishes to place GPS trackers in the vehicle fleet.
A complete list of all the information that the employee must know is proposed by the CNIL. Among them, there is the identity of the controller, the legal basis of the device and all his rights. This information can be attached to the employment contract or placed on the company’s notice board.

Salarié s'oppose au suivi de son véhicule

The employee has the right to object for legitimate reasons

The employee has the right to object to the installation of a GPS tracker in his car, when the employer does not respect the rules of implementation stated by the CNIL, or that the purposes of GPS tracking is no longer respected and diverted.