Ikea France fined €1m for spying on workers

Ikea France has been fined €1 million by a French court after being found guilty of spying on employees illegally.

Ikea employs 10,000 people in France across 36 locations and is the Swedish furniture giant’s third biggest market behind Germany and the United States.

Jean-Louis Baillot, former Ikea France chief executive, was fined €50,000 for storing personal data and given a two-year suspended jail term.

Jean-François Paris, former head of risk management at Ikea France, was accused of playing a central role in the employee surveillance and was given a suspended 18-month jail term and a fine of €10,000.

The allegations against Ikea involved storing illegally obtained employee data from France’s police records system, covering previous criminal conditions.

Four police officials are also facing charges for their help providing access to this data.

The judges at the Paris court said the data was used to crackdown on “troublemakers” at the subsidiary, including union leaders.

Allegations involve using the police data to investigate an employee who was seen driving a Porsche while claiming unemployment benefits, and another who was seen driving a BMW while on a low salary.

The case first opened in 2012, when it was first reported by French news organisations Le Canard Enchaîné and Mediapart.

Ikea France has not announced whether they want to appeal the decision.
The news comes as IKEA continues to expand rapidly; in October 2020 it said it would add 50 new stores to its existing 445 sites, with 30 of these due to open during 2021.

“Ikea takes the protection of co-worker and customer data very seriously,” said an Ikea spokesperson. “Ikea Retail France has strongly condemned the practices, apologised and implemented a major action plan to prevent this from happening again.”

They added: “We will now review the court’s decision in detail and consider if and where any additional measures are necessary.”

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