Senate Debates Illegal Electronic Monitoring – But Only Temporarily

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Republicans and Democrats clashed briefly Wednesday night over whether employers should be allowed to monitor their employees electronically under state law.

Senate Republican leader John McKinney was in the middle of a stentorian stemwinder, railing against  the ability of employers to use GPS devices to monitor the positions of their employees.

While McKinney was talking, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, who controls the agenda, stepped in and shut down the debate. The withdrawal Wednesday night was directly related to McKinney\’s ire, but the bill can be changed and brought up at another time during the legislative session.

\”This makes the red-light camera bill look like a walk in the park!\’\’ McKinney boomed on the Senate floor.

The bill, with a strike-all amendment on Senate bill 443, stated that it is illegal to electronically monitor a person\’s movements without their consent.

But the bill also said there would be an exception for \”an employer when determining or tracking the position or movement of an employee in the performance of the employee\’s assigned duties.\’\’

\”Anywhere they go,\’\’ McKinney said. \”My God, we stand up in this circle for employee rights all over the place.\’\’

\”We\’re gonna track you. We\’re gonna follow you,\’\’ he said. \”And we\’re not gonna tell you.\’\’

\”The logic of the Connecticut state legislature never ceases to amaze me. I can\’t make this stuff up when I talk to constituents. I\’m embarrassed at some of the stuff we do around here.\’\’

\”You could have someone who works for you, and you can follow them around with a GPS tracking device,\’\’ McKinney said.

Before McKinney could speak further, the bill was abruptly pulled off the Senate floor.

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11 thoughts on “Senate Debates Illegal Electronic Monitoring – But Only Temporarily

  1. Rich

    As I Democrat, I’ve got to tell Legislative Democrats that you’re playing with fire when you let these tracking and red-light and other privacy-invasion bills come to the floor. Democrats care just as much as Republicans about civil liberties issues and there may be a price to be paid for sucking up to law-enforcement and management constituencies, whose urges for control can never be satiated, at the expense of the public’s common-sense view of our privacy rights…

  2. Fake Thomas Jefferson

    Many CT company’s already track employee movements thru their company vehicles with GPS technology. My company has reduced speeding dramatically, unnecessary idling, unauthorized side trips to many different unauthorized destinations that are ultimately a theft of time. It amazes me how the legislature is always looking to protect people who are doing something wrong to begin with. If they employees are where they are supposed to be then they have nothing to worry about.

  3. Randomconnecticutresident

    I am on break at work and I checked the news, and I am sad I did. This is getting very disheartening; it feels like the state legislature is simply interested in waging a war on working people. Well heeled corporate interests write the legislation, and all these people do is vote on it, and the interests of normal people are hardly even considered. It is both shameful and disgusting, and I thank John McKinney for at least trying to speak out in the face of what is, to my mind, evil.

  4. Bette

    Does the George Orwell 1984 seem appropriate? Yes if people were where they belonged would it matter? But what else will this lead too? We have cameras watching us everywhere we go.Do you really need gps to tell your boss you are in the restroom? If your boss can’t trust you he should fire you not treat you and every other employee like a criminal with a gps bracelet.

  5. Good senator

    It is so rare these days to be inspired by our elected leaders, but Senator McKinney’s positions seem grounded in a love of the ideal America–and as corny as it sounds, this guy makes me think that maybe better days are ahead for us all. Keep up the good fight, Senator, and THANK YOU.

  6. MrLogical

    Employers have a right to track the whereabouts of their company-owned vehicles and assests. It’s their private property…period. By extension, they have an equal right to know if their employees are on the job, on the route that has been assigned to them, and not in the parking lot of a state park by the shore or in the parking lot of the neighborhood bar when they’re not on lunch break.

    Sen. McKinney: I’m usually with you, but I’m sorry to say you’re all wrong on this one.

    1. Disagree

      Company vehicles, sure, but only (if I ran the world) with full disclosure to the employee. But your “by extension…” argument fails for me. Right now, I surrender my 4th amendment right to a reasonable expectation of privacy when I want to get on an airplane. Okay. I give up my 4th amendment rights at certain concert or sporting venues. Okay.

      Should holding employment–any employment–also be a circumstance where 4th amendment rights must be surrendered? How about owning a home? Because our wonderful legislature is assaulting privacy there as well. Should that be a circumstance where we surrender 4th amendment rights, too?

      I don’t think so.

      I thank God that at least a few people in positions of power, like Senator McKinney, see it my way and not yours. I just hope they’re enough.

  7. Winston Campbell

    The “right” of employers to track their property as a means to see if their employees are doing their job does not trump the individual freedoms we have as citizens in this country. We hav sent troops overseas to defend our freedoms and it seems we are slowly moving towards the type of restricted societies we fight against. If this law is passed then employers should also be monitored to make sur they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

    1. Bob

      Employees are free to leave.

      We have rights as employers and are not subject to your whims with regard to where we might be.

      Don’t like that? Start your own business and experience a change in your attitude.

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