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Woman fired after disabling work app that tracked her movements 24/7

Woman fired after disabling work app that tracked her movements 24/7

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A woman in California claims to have been fired from her job after uninstalling an app on her smartphone that her employer used to track her movements 24 hours a day. Myrna Arias, a former employee of money transfer firm Intermex, says she was told to keep her phone on at all times and was dismissed weeks after being "scolded" for uninstalling the app. She's now suing Intermex for violating her privacy and wrongful termination, among other allegations.

"[Arias' boss] Stubits admitted that employees would be monitored while off duty, and bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she had installed the app on her phone," reads the complaint, filed in Kern County Superior Court and spotted by ArsTechnica.

"She likened the app to a prisoner’s ankle bracelet."

"[Arias] expressed that she had no problem with the app’s GPS function during work hours, but she objected to the monitoring of her location during non-work hours," says the filing. "She likened the app to a prisoner’s ankle bracelet and informed Stubits that his actions were illegal. Stubits replied that she should tolerate the illegal intrusion because Intermix was paying [her more than her previous employer]."

Screenshots of the Xora app. (Xora/iTunes)

When Arias complained to Stubits, he told her that she was required to keep her phone powered on throughout the day. The app — Xora StreetSmart — is intended to let companies manage employees working away from the office. Its creators, ClickSoftware, says it lets firms "see the location of every mobile worker on a Google Map." However, ClickSoftware doesn't seem to envision the app as a 24-hour tracker, telling potential clients that "field employees" should launch the app "when [they] start their day."

Arias is currently suing Intermex for damages "in excess of $500,000" for lost earnings and wages, with her filing stating that "this intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person." Intermex could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.