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Employers take notice, effective on April 19, 2022, a new law prohibits New Jersey employers from tracking vehicles driven by employees without first providing written notice. The law is designed to further protect employee privacy in the workplace. Under the new law, employers cannot utilize tracking or electronic communications devices in any vehicle used by an employee, including both vehicles provided by the employer and employee-owned vehicles used for work purposes. Written notice must inform employees of the tracking practices for vehicles used by the employee, including the type of GPS unit and metrics monitored during travel. Notice must also inform employees of the required safety protocols in relation to the operation of vehicles used during the course of employment.
The new law applies to employers, their agents, representatives and designees, but excludes public employers and public transportation systems (including chartered or scheduled bus transportation, whether operated by a public or private company). The law specifically defines electronic communications devices as any device that uses electronic signals to create, transmit and receive information, including a computer, telephone, personal digital assistant or other similar devices. A tracking device is defined as an electronic or mechanical device that permits the tracking of the movement of a vehicle, person or device. However, devices used for the purpose of documenting employee expense reimbursement, one of the most common reasons that employers track location, are still permitted.
An employer who unknowingly violates this law is subject to civil penalties in the amount of $1,000 for the first violation and up to $2,500 for each subsequent violation. Failure to comply with these new legal requirements could also be considered a fourth-degree crime, punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both.
Notably, nothing in this law is meant to overtake regulations regarding interstate commerce, including but not limited to the usage of electronic communications devices as mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If such regulations are applicable to an employer, these new requirements do not apply. If not, employers need to revisit their policies to ensure that written notice of monitoring is provided to employees.
Employers who monitor employees in vehicles through any type of tracking or communication device, not exempted under the law, should provide employees with written notice of your tracking activities. This should be done as soon as possible to comply with the law. Obtaining written receipt acknowledgements from all employees receiving the notice is also suggested so there is no dispute over whether notice was in fact provided.