They’re Watching You…

Man listening in on a phone call

The term, “Big Brother” was popularized with the novel, “1984” by George Orwell. “Big Brother” has most commonly been viewed as being the government, but, over the years, the identity of Big Brother” has morphed into that of employers. Many people have undoubtedly heard the phrase, “Big Brother is watching you.” Now, at least in New Jersey, Big Brother has to let you know, in writing, that he is watching you.

Assembly Bill No. 3950 requires New Jersey employers to provide written notice to employees before utilizing tracking devices in vehicles that are used by employees. The Assembly Bill was signed into law by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on January 18, 2022 (the “Law”). The Law becomes effective on April 18, 2022. Under the Law, an employer who “knowingly makes use of a tracking device in a vehicle used by an employee” is required to provide written notice to the employee before utilizing a tracking device. Excluded from the definition of "employer" are the State Parole Board, Departments of Correction and correctional facilities, any state or local law enforcement agency or governmental entity, public transportation systems, and private charter bus operators. The Law defines a “tracking device” as “an electronic or mechanical device which is designed or intended to be used for the sole purpose of tracking the movement of a vehicle, person or device but shall not include devices used for the purpose of documenting employee expense reimbursement.” New Jersey’s Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development has the responsibility of enforcing the Law. Employers who fail to comply may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for the first violation and up to $2,500 for each subsequent violation. The Law does not create a private right of action. That is, employees who are aggrieved by an employer’s failure to comply with the Law cannot sue under the Law. The aforementioned penalties for violating the Act are collectable by New Jersey’s Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. The Law only requires the employer to provide the employee with written notice of the use of a tracking device; it does not require the employee’s consent.

If you are concerned about your legal rights in the workplace, please contact the attorneys at Morgan Rooks PC.

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