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Woman allegedly fired for deleting iPhone app that monitored her 24/7

Technically Incorrect: A sales executive for a money transfer service is suing her former employer after disabling a GPS app that, she says, followed her even when she wasn't working.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


xora.jpg
The Xora app, at the heart of this lawsuit. Xora/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Some employers believe they have the right to follow their workers around all the time.

Truck drivers occasionally use GPS jammers to make sure their bosses can't find them, sometimes with difficult consequences.

A California sales executive, however, believes it's a disgraceful invasion of her privacy. Myrna Arias says she was required by her employer, money transfer company Intermex, to install the Xora iPhone app (now part of Click Software). This app can track users even when they aren't on the employer's time.

She found this uncomfortable and uninstalled the app. Shortly afterward, she was allegedly fired.

Now, as Ars Technica reports, she is suing Intermex. Filed last week (PDF), the suit alleges invasion of privacy, as well as retaliation in violation of the labor code, wrongful termination and several other offenses.

She is also accusing John Stubits, Intermex's regional vice president of sales, of bragging in April 2014 that she would not only be monitored off duty, but that he would know precisely how fast she was driving.

Arias says she described this app to Stubits as akin to a prisoner's ankle bracelet. However, she claims that Stubits insisted she keep her phone powered up 24 hours a day.

Meanwhile, she says she deleted the app at the end of April 2014. On May 5, 2014, she was allegedly fired. She cites her deletion of the app as a cause.

And now she is seeking damages of at least $500,000.

Arias's lawyer, Gail Glick, told me: "Intermex's justification for firing Ms. Arias was that her boss claimed that he and Intermex had just found out that she was working for another company at the same time she worked in sales for Intermex. Ms. Arias asserts that this is false."

She added: "Ms. Arias asserts that her boss did not provide her with a good reason for using the app 24/7. She recalls he told her that the company was assessing whether it would provide its sales force with company cars, rather than pay them a car allowance, so it wanted to determine the number of miles its employees were driving for the business of the company. Her problem was that comments her boss made to her revealed that he was monitoring their whereabouts during non-work hours and on non-work trips."

Intermex may view these accusations very differently. Attempts to contact Intermex have so far been unsuccessful.

However, the mere concept of a company being able to follow an employee 24 hours a day is surely unconscionable to those who still believe that there exists something called privacy.

Than again, how many CEOs have long thought that calling an employee at any time of day or night is legitimate business?

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