Employees Monitoring and Harassment – A Trucker’s Perspective

Every day in the media, it seems that white-collar employees are experiencing some kind of employer abuse that results in their suspension or termination. So, employee monitoring is important.

From Facebook snooping to profiling employees and candidates with online searches, the 21st century has brought on a wave of employers who are all-too-eager to use our advanced communications technology to do their bidding. As accessibility and knowledge of the ways that employers can monitor their employees, even blue collar positions are feeling the watchful eye of Big Brother.

In the case of truckers

For example, to the casual observer, trucking might seem like one of the best jobs for free spirited careerists who don’t want to be tied down. A cowboy’s life on the open road, classic rock radio blasting, and freedom from the constraints of a typical job. No boss present to breath down your neck, and hours can be filled as you please. Truckers seem to be pretty free from the unfair skepticism of supervisors that those who work in cubicles are subject to.

Of course, these assumptions are all pretty bunk.

With recent regulations in the United States, even truckers are subject to unfair supervision – not only by employers, but even the government. New Hours-Of-Service (or HOS) regulations limit the time that truckers can drive with the purpose of reducing fatigue-related trucking accidents, (though statistics demonstrate that four out of five times passenger drivers are responsible for truck accidents and are more frequently inebriated at the time of collision.) Despite many employers demanding fatigue management and stricter CDL test standards to reduce these incidents, legislation is still working against truckers. eGears is a CDL preparation service provided for audiences from the United States and is not accessible to viewers outside of this region.

Granted that the golden era of trucking that began in the 50’s was sparked because of deregulation, it’s disappointing that neither firms or legislators seem to realize that hands off management produces superior results.

How could HOS regulations be called harassment?

These laws promote mandatory resting periods which inhibit much of the supposed flexibility of a career in trucking. These measures are costly for employees and employers alike, considering it is projected to boost the trucker shortage by a few hundred thousand vacancies in the US when all is said and done. These HOS regulations alone have caused many truckers to call foul, some even going as far as to call them a form of workplace harassment. They point out that these regulations are akin to unfair searches at the workplace, which is a comparison that merits consideration.

Even worse, these regulations are expected to be reinforced by mandatory electronic onboard recorders (or EOBRs) by 2014. On-board recorders have had a history of employer abuse, particularly when more rudimentary tachographs caused employers to question every pit stop made by their drivers – which made something like using the bathroom or stopping for a bite to eat punishable by more draconian firms. The silver lining to this mess is that the new EOBRs only provide a connection to law enforcement agencies. That’s right – a 24/7 GPS-enabled connection to local authorities. Talk about trust issues, right?

Other issues

On top of this mess, many employers are taking a firm stance against the obesity epidemic among truckers. As good-natured as that may sound, the measures have occasionally been extreme. Promoting a healthy lifestyle is one thing, but this represents an outrageous employee abuse.

Think trucking is about the open road and a life of freedom from corporate management? Unfortunately, think again. Employee abuse can take place in many forms and in many environments other than offices or department stores.

How do you think legislation or excessive employer monitoring affects your line of work?

Author bio: Hank Barton, a second-generation trucking philosopher who enjoys writing his observations on trucking and life on the road with eGears

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