Can I be fired for inappropriate use of the company vehicle?

If you use your own company car, be very careful to use it correctly, because, indeed, you could be sanctioned or fired.

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There are jobs that require the company to provide you with a company vehicle to carry out your work and from here, doubts may arise about its use. The first thing we must be clear about is that it appears in the contract signed between the company and the worker regarding the use of the company vehicle or following agreements. 

What happens if we have signed that it is for the exclusive use of the company? 

In these cases, the worker will not be able to use it for private use and the company that owns the vehicle will be responsible for all the expenses inherent to the vehicle, except for fines derived from driving. 

In these cases, will the company be able to use GPS devices and vehicle geolocation to control the activity? 

The article 20.3 of the Workers’ Statute establishes that “The employer may adopt the surveillance and control measures that he deems most appropriate to verify compliance by the worker with his obligations, work duties and his commitment to loyalty to the company, maintaining in its adoption and application the due consideration to their dignity.” 

It is also true that article 20.bis of the Workers’ Statute, regulates the right of workers to privacy in the use of digital devices made available to them by the employer, to digital disconnection and to privacy regarding the use of video surveillance and geolocation devices in the terms established in current legislation regarding the protection of personal data and guarantee of digital rights. 

Faced with this dilemma, what should the employer consider for the use and utilization of these devices? 

  • You must inform the worker and his or her union representatives of the existence of the GPS device in the company vehicle that will be used by the worker. 
  • You may only use geolocation and your information within established business hours. 
  • The geolocation will be based on and linked to the business activity, therefore, it cannot violate the rights of the worker. 

Is it possible for a worker to be fired for using a company vehicle?  

If the employer has informed the worker of the aforementioned points and it is demonstrated through the GPS device that the worker has used the company vehicle for private use outside of working hours without authorization, or during periods of medical leave, the worker can be fired for violation of contractual good faith, and this is established by rulings such as the Supreme Court Judgment of September 15, 2020, appeal 528/2018.

Would the same thing happen if what is agreed is a mixed-use of the company vehicle? 

In these cases, the worker may use the company vehicle outside of working hours and the expenses generated for its private use must be paid by the worker, considered as remuneration in kind if paid by the company. 

How should we reflect the mixed use of the company vehicle? 

The private use of the company vehicle by the worker must be reflected in the employment contract or in the subsequent agreement that is expressly made. 

We hope we have dispelled all your doubts in this post. Follow the Educa.Pro blog for more information related to labour relations and labour law!

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