Thursday, November 15, 2007

Am I naive?

I saw a thing about agencies using GPS units in their vehicles to track where and when employees were driving the vehicles, using it to plot better routes among other things, resulting in all kinds of benefits to the agencies such as decreased fuel consumption etc. And, a few people have gotten in trouble for misusing vehicles, going shopping or to the gym when they were supposed to be working, going home early, etc,, even some cases being terminated from their jobs. Naturally, more than a few people have gotten up in arms about "Big Brother" type complaints, including unions.

Now, I believe that unions certainly have their time and place. And this is not union bashing. My response to anyone, union or no, that has an issue with this: But seriously. If I own an agency and I want to use GPS to ensure that my vehicles are being used properly, that my staff are not using them to do non-job-related things on my dime, then I'm the bad guy here?

Personally, it is my belief that as long as you are on the clock and driving a vehicle supplied by your employer for work related duties, then (unless you're just stopping at the minimart for a soda or in some other non-impactful way taking care of an errand that lies along your route), your employer has every right to take you to task for misusing the vehicle. That's not Big Brother. Big Brother is when I care what you do when you're OFF the clock and driving your OWN damn vehicle.

We had a staff member at one of our houses who had a small business on the side, and she regularly used the office computer to print up her flyers. We went through ink like mad and she jammed up the printer and locked up the print manager many times before I finally had to tell her that there was a five-item limit and that the copy center was down the street.

And, at the local public utility, it is common knowledge that the entire (job type concealed to protect me from lawsuits) department gets in their service trucks, goes to a restaurant for breakfast on company time, takes lengthy lunches, and clocks out at quittin' time right on the dot. And these guys make (insanely high wages) per hour, for working maybe half the day. Your utility dollars at work, folks...

Am I just naive for having this viewpoint?


VenerableGamer said...

What's Orange And Sleeps Three?...A county pickup.

That was my favorite joke while working as summer help during college at a local county road department. I worked in the signage department. Being in a rainforest state, we had plenty of days where we could not apply paint to the roadways. The altnative was to start clearing brush from the county signs while decked out in dark rain gear and bright orange vests. Now don't get me wrong, we worked our tails off most of the time. However, many a morning you could find a bright orange pickup parked on some isolated spot with 3 dozing summer help in front. Ahhh the memories...

Now that I'm all grown up, I totally agree that it is the employers right to monitor usage of their employees working time, activities, and resources. There is too much on the line with liability and costs for them to ignore the situation. Hopefully the employer understands human nature and can balance this fairly.

On a related note, I sure hope they don't have hidden cameras around here. I bet security has a blooper tape of people sitting at their desks picking and scratching during moments that would be assumed as not in the public eye.

yellojkt said...

I hope my boss never starts monitoring my internet activity.