As only geolocation data referring to kilometres travelled were considered, the interference in the applicant’s privacy was limited and proportional to the intended purpose.

Dismissal by an employer based on the data from the geolocator of an employee’s company car is lawful and the collection and processing of the relevant data does not result in the infringement of the employee’s rights as enshrined in the Human Rights Convention. This was established, in an important precedent on this much debated issue, in the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights No 26968/1616 issued at the conclusion of Gramaxo v. Portugal. This is the first time the European Court has ruled on a case of surveillance at work through a geolocation system and laid down the criteria for the correct balance between the worker’s right to respect for his or her private life and the employer’s rights in terms of monitoring the proper use of capital assets.

The case on which the Court was asked to rule related to the dismissal of a medical representative of a Portuguese pharmaceutical company who, because of travel associated with his work, had been assigned a company car for mixed work and private use.

At a later date the company had installed a global positioning satellite system (GPS) on all company vehicles.

Following a comparison of the data collected through the installed systems, it was found that the employee in question had falsified the monitoring records making it look like the vehicle had been used more for work than it actually had and lowering its private use to reduce the cost to himself.

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