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Can I declare I won't be using their app; what rights do I have?

I am very thorough with my privacy and security and do not answer emails, calls, texts etc outside my contracted hours. However, the company I work for has recently introduced a WMS (Rota Geek) which allows employees to clock in/ out, track shifts and can track your GPS within a certain radius of the workplace (and can continue to track if you forget to clock out). For security and tracking reasons, I don't want this on my (personal) phone and the company doesn't offer company phones as its a retail environment.

I understand the reasons why they'd want to implement this:

  • replacing the old timesheet system
  • reducing time spent doing timesheets etc

but lets assume I don't have a smart phone anyway, then what?

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    The first question is how long have you been (continuously) employed by your current employer? If it's less than two years, then you have pretty much zero rights. Oct 24, 2020 at 18:16
  • @PhilipKendall Three years and I'm also part of management (supervisor). They know I have good time keeping and a thorough work ethic, I just like to be strict about personal space.
    – rkm.b
    Oct 24, 2020 at 18:22
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    " but lets assume I don't have a smart phone anyway, then what?" That's how I handled a similar situation. I showed them my feature phone and asked them to help me install the app.
    – Helena
    Oct 24, 2020 at 18:23
  • @Helena Thats excellent. Were they able to work round it?
    – rkm.b
    Oct 24, 2020 at 18:33
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    Will the app function if you deny it access to location data? Oct 25, 2020 at 16:33

2 Answers 2

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It’s dead simple, if they want specific apps installed then they need to provide you a phone with them on. That’s all you need tell them.

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    Note also that you can buya contractless low end smart phone for 50 Euros and put a pre paid contract on it. So the cost in providing you with a phone is negligible. The question is just if they want to do that but that is their problem not yours.
    – quarague
    Oct 26, 2020 at 8:55
  • @quarague They definitely wouldn't shell out for a phone for me as they'd say they couldn't do the same for the rest of the employees. Though thats handy to know on a personal note
    – rkm.b
    Oct 26, 2020 at 9:00
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    If they can't spend 10 dollars on a phone, leave the company
    – Fattie
    Oct 27, 2020 at 16:39
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Can I declare I won't be using their app; what rights do I have?

It's a personal property and you are an employee, which means that the employer cannot force you to install anything on it. They can act nicely, but there isn't really a path (as far as I know) which can results in you being forced to install software for your employer on your personal phone.

But as importantly going down to legalities is almost always a losing route.

First and most obvious they can then not extend your work contract/dismiss you at first opportunity (and with bigger companies and very thick contracts and handbooks there will always be a way at some point), and less obvious they may start enforcing rules that you may not want enforced. For example it's not uncommon term in retails that employees are not allowed to use personal phones during working hours. While that term is seldom enforced there is no reason that this cannot change.

but lets assume I don't have a smart phone anyway, then what?

You need to think carefully about what you want to achieve before doing anything.

I definitely would not start by lying about not having a smartphone, this will be seen through and found out almost instantly bringing the topic back to the original question but now your credibility is also shot by this obvious lie.

If you do not want to stir the pot and keep everyone happy while also protecting your own privacy then the easiest option may just be to buy a cheap 2nd hand phone. While this will cost you some money out of pocket it avoids rocking the boat and possibly (although unlikely) putting your job at risk. You can even leave this work phone at work assuming that you have some sort of storage options available, so even if you will forget to turn off the tracking it won't track you outside of work.

If you want to challenge this change then you really can only hope for two outcomes:

  1. You getting assigned a work phone from the company. Given that they just do not do that it seems unlikely to happen but you won't know unless you ask. You can possibly increase your chances by having a proper pitch about how a work phone would help you, when not having to mix work apps with your personal phone is just one of the many great points, though that really depends on your relation with your boss.
  2. You refuse to install the app and hold your ground. They will then either figure out an entire new procedure to accommodate you (which they may already have, who knows, though expect it to be relatively paperwork heavy) or they will smile, say "okay" and start working on a way to replace you because who needs that pain. And there are many ways to fire an employee, or drive them into quitting if your boss cares enough.

Whichever route you want to take we cannot tell you, but I urge you to think it through before acting, as a label of someone who makes a final stand on what most people consider a non-issue (and many people just do not care about being tracked, especially when it has an off button) is a pretty hard one to shake off.

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  • workplace has no reason to know of your personal property. What if you have a smartphone but want to bring a feature phone into work?
    – Emobe
    Oct 25, 2020 at 10:06
  • @emobe Then do that and you can honestly say that your phone can't run that app. But that's not OP situation.
    – Aida Paul
    Oct 25, 2020 at 11:13
  • looks like that's the solution then, to buy a feature phone.
    – Emobe
    Oct 25, 2020 at 12:21
  • @Emobe By all means propose that as an answer then and explain your rationale. Though to me it seems as a werid solution as unless you plan to replace your smartphone with it, you are not lying but with an extra step of buying a phone you won't use. May aswell just buy a cheap 2nd hand android.
    – Aida Paul
    Oct 25, 2020 at 12:23
  • i like Matt's answer so i don't think i can provide anything better. That phone can be used for when at work, for emergencies. There's little reason for a smartphone in a retail environment.
    – Emobe
    Oct 25, 2020 at 12:36

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