Ikea convicted of spying on employees in France

IkeaPhoto: Lise Åserud / NTB

The French branch of Ikea has been fined EUR 1 million for monitoring and spying on employees and job-seekers between 2009 and 2012.

The fine corresponds to just over NOK 10 million. 

According to the prosecution, the espionage began in the early 2000s, but the trial has concentrated on the period between 2009 and 2012, Reuters writes.

The former head of Ikea’s French department, Jean-Louis Baillot, has been sentenced to two years probation, as well as a fine of NOK 500,000. In addition, the former director of risk management, Jean-François Paris, was sentenced to one and a half years probation and a fine of NOK 100,000.

Nine other members of the top management and four police officers were also charged. A top executive and some others were acquitted. 

Uncertain about appeal

Ikea has not yet considered whether they will appeal the verdict. Lawyer Emmanuel Daoud says the case has been characterized by a lack of evidence and emphasizes that the fine is far from the maximum penalty of EUR 3.75 million.

“The court took into account the action plan that Ikea introduced after the revelations in 2012. It is very satisfactory,” Daoud said.

Baillot is shocked by the verdict and is considering an appeal, says lawyer François Saint-Pierre.

Ikea also risks additional costs. Trade unions and 74 employees have sued the company after the revelations.

Hoping for a ripple effect

Trade union lawyer Solene Debarre hopes the verdict will make companies tremble a bit.

“EUR 1 million is not much for Ikea, but it is a symbol,” Debarre said.

Former Ikea employee Abel Amara says the verdict is very important for the protection of individuals.

“It makes me happy that there is justice in France,” he said.

Advanced monitoring system

Ikea allegedly had an advanced system in place that included both private detectives and police officers who collected information about the privacy of hundreds of employees and job-seekers, including confidential information about criminal records.

The scheme was revealed by the magazines Le Canard enchaîné and Mediapart in 2012. Four top executives were fired after the revelations.

Ikea has 34 department stores and over 10,000 employees in France.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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