IKEA fined more than $1 million for spying on staff

Two former execs convicted, fined

IKEA fined more than $1 million for spying on staff
Two former IKEA executives were also convicted.

Home furnishings company IKEA has been ordered to pay more than €1.1 million ($1.62 million) in fines and damages by a French court for spying on its staff, according to a report.

A court in the Paris suburb of Versailles found that between 2009 and 2012 the French subsidiary of the Swedish furniture retailer spied on its staff to sift out perceived troublemakers, particularly union members. It also gathered information on customers in dispute with the company.

The information collected included details on people’s lifestyles and any previous criminal convictions, according to a report from The Guardian.

In March, global call centre company Teleperformance alerted employees in the U.K. that it will use webcams to monitor workers who work from home, and faced widespread criticism.

Two former IKEA executives were also convicted. The group’s former chief Jean-Louis Baillot was handed a suspended two-year prison term and ordered to pay €50,000 (around $73K).

Meanwhile, former head of risk management Jean-François Paris was handed a suspended 18-month prison term and a fine of €10,000 (around $15K). Paris was accused of being at the heart of the spying system.

They were found guilty of “receiving personal data by fraudulent means”, though the sentences were less severe than sought by prosecutors, who accused them of illicitly carrying out “mass surveillance”, according to The Guardian.

In 2018, Unifor testified in the Senate against the federal government’s proposed workplace surveillance legislation.