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An employer can track an employee's whereabouts during working hours, the Tel Aviv Labor Court ruled yesterday.

The labor tribunal ruled that the government company Petroleum and Energy Infrastructures could use information from tracking devices installed in company vehicles.

The specific case involves a suit by PEI against an employee, Oded Rubin, whom it accused of submitting false timesheets. The company is demanding Rubin return NIS 90,000 in pay.

The company based its claim on data from the tracking device installed in Rubin's vehicle to prevent theft. Rubin's job is to inspect the company's infrastructure and equipment in the field.

His lawyers asked the court to disqualify the tracking data as evidence, saying it violated his privacy. But the court allowed it, once the company removed any information concerning Rubin's whereabouts when he was not working.

The company said Rubin was only complaining since he was caught cheating the company. All field employees with company vehicles know their location is monitored, so that the company can find its staff, it said.

"The location of an employee during working hours is information the employer is entitled to have," wrote Judge Orly Sella. She explained this applies in particular to workers who are outside the office, and is part of the basic work agreement.