Court Wallops Ikea For Spying On Workers
Ikea has been slugged with a €1 million ($1.58 million AUD) fine in France for spying on its staff.
A French court slapped down the world’s largest furniture retailer after its French branch was found to be breaching employees’ privacy by monitoring their bank accounts, illegally accessing criminal records, hiring private investigators to snoop on workers, and in some cases posing as fake employees to write up staff reports.
France’s CGT trade union has welcomed the ruling, though prosecutors had called for heftier fines as well as harsher prison sentences for executives responsible.
“Beyond the total disrespect for people’s privacy, many individual and collective rights have been violated, trampled on, reducing employees to simple machines that can be exploited at will. Some will have been dismissed or even convicted of harassment without ever being restored to their rights.
“If the penalties and fines are light compared to the damages, we can congratulate ourselves on this first conviction of a multinational for such acts,” the union said in a press release.
In a statement reported by Reuters, Ingka Group, owner of Ikea, apologised for the scheme, which took place from the early 2000s to 2012.
“Ikea Retail France has strongly condemned the practices, apologised and implemented a major action plan to prevent this from happening again,” the company said.
Union representatives accused Ikea of using the illegally-obtained information to target organisers, as well as taking advantage of it in disputes with customers.