ThyssenKrupp Elevator (Canada) Limited (“TKE”) joins a list of elevator companies that (to date) includes Schindler Elevator Corporation (Order P12-01) and Kone Inc. (Order P13-01) who have attracted the attention of the BC OIPC for their use of technology to monitor their mobile workforces. But an employer doesn’t need to be in the elevator business to learn from Orders P12-01, P13-01 and P13-02, these orders will be of interest to any employer who monitors or proposes to use technology to monitor a mobile workforce.
Similar to the facts in Schindler, TKE’s technology comprises GPS and other capabilities that permit TKE to monitor employee location and vehicle operation in near real-time. TKE’s technology can generate email alerts following certain triggering events – such as when an employee leaves his or her expected work area – and TKE may retain the collected information to generate future reports.
The complainant, a TKE employee, alleged that in connection with its use of this technology TKE was in breach of sections 5, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 16 of PIPA.
Following Order P12-01, the Adjudicator applied a broad definition of “personal information” to find the collected GPS and vehicle operation information was both “personal information” and “employee personal information” and did not meet the exception for “work product information”; sections 13 and 16 of PIPA applied, and sections 10, 11 and 14 of PIPA did not apply or were redundant.
The Adjudicator then found that TKE’s collection and use of employee personal information without consent was permitted under PIPA sections 13(2)(b) and 16(2)(b) of PIPA because TKE linked its collection and use to reasonable purposes related to the establishment, management and termination of employee relationships. TKE’s reasons included: payroll verification; confirmation of compliance with company policies; vehicle maintenance scheduling; ensuring safe driving; improving customer service; identifying inefficiencies; improving employee safety; and optimizing dispatch.
Previous orders have clarified that to satisfy sections 13(2)(b) and 16(2)(b) of PIPA the collection and use of employee personal information must also be reasonably collected and used. Relevant criteria for this test include: the sensitivity and volume of the collected information; the likelihood that the collected information will support the stated purpose for collection; the manner of collection and use of the collected information; and the availability of alternatives.
Here, TKE’s collection and use was reasonable. The collected information was not particularly sensitive and supported the stated purposes; the use of the technology was a reasonable alternative as in-person supervision was impractical; the technology was not covert; and the collected information was not continuously monitored by TKE, but checked by TKE in response to a triggering event or dispute.
However, TKE had not met its notice requirements under sections 13(3) and 16(3) of PIPA because TKE had not disclosed all purposes for which the employee personal information was collected. TKE was directed to stop collecting and using the information until such time as it had given sufficient notice to employees, as determined and confirmed in writing by the Adjudicator.