Ikea has been fined one million euros in France for setting up an espionage system to collect private information on its own staff.
Together with former managers and some police officers, the company was accused of illegally spying on hundreds of employees since 2002. The case came to light in 2012 after the French weekly Le Canard Enchainé published incriminating e-mail traffic between managers and private investigators.
During the trial, it was revealed that Ikea France was spending 600,000 euros a year on private investigators, who were, for instance, asked to find out how an employee could suddenly afford an expensive car. Private detectives and police officers also helped to collect personal data (criminal record, lifestyle, assets) on employees and job applicants, writes Belgian newspaper De Tijd.
Two-year prison sentence
Today, the French subsidiary of Ikea was fined one million euros for the improper use of personal data. Jean-Louis Baillot, who headed Ikea France between 1996 and 2009, was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of two years and a fine of 50,000 euros.
Also on trial was Belgium's top manager Stefan Vanoverbeke, who led the French branch of the furniture chain between 2010 and 2015. He was acquitted because there was no "material element" against him.