IKEA has to pay a fine of €1 million in France for spying on employees. A court in Paris found the company guilty of retaining personal data that has been obtained unlawfully.
The French branch of the Swedish company was accused of spying on employees for years and violating their privacy by looking at their bank details. Also, fake employees were used to write reports about staff.
The prosecutors had claimed a 2 million euro fine for running an espionage system designed to detect problem cases among staff and record troublesome customers. In one case, an employee would have been investigated who was driving a Porsche while he had to live from benefits before; another investigation involved a potentially criminal past of a low-salary employee who was driving an expensive BMW.
Private investigator deployed
The former director of IKEA France, Jean-Louis Baillot, was personally punished for his share in the case. He received a two-year suspended sentence and a fine of 50,000 euros for the retention of personnel personal data.
There were fifteen people in the trial, which served in Paris in March and lasted two weeks. In addition to the director, they were several branch managers and personnel officials, as well as a private investigator and a number of police officers. According to trade unions, police officers illegally passed data to the company and they would have been paid for it.
Tons per year for spying
Ikea lawyers denied the company‘s espionage policy in court, but former senior Jean-François Paris confessed that it was allocated from 530.000 to 600,000 euros a year. The assignment to spy would have been given by former top man Baillot. Paris is the only one who admitted the practices.
The case covered the period from 2009 to 2012, when espionage came to light, but according to the prosecutors, spying began at the beginning of the century. The company fired four executives and adjusted its internal policies after the investigation was initiated by the French prosecutors in 2012.
IKEA hasn’t responded to the conviction yet.