German weekly Der Spiegel has accused discounter Aldi of spying on both customers and employees. One reported abuse was about employees who had been zooming in on customers entering their secret code while paying; another was about them zooming in on cleavaged or short-skirted customers at 'selected moments' – and distributing these images on DVD.
Another abuse of cameras Der Spiegel wrote about, was the unlawful use of cameras by the chain itself to monitor employees in storage facilities. This practice is illegal in Germany if there are no signs to warn the employees they are being filmed.
Immediate Aldi response
Aldi Süd's spokesperson Kirsten Windhorn immediately responded to the first accusation that “there are clear instructions regarding video surveillance, and filming the payment zone is certainly not done.” She added that “should abuses have occurred, the chain will not hesitate totake the proper sanctions and, if necessary, legal steps.”
“In extreme cases, it is possible that employees are monitored if we suspect them in a concrete case”, is Windhorn's defence against the third accusation. On the second one – the filming of female customers – there was no response.
Controlling employees is a sensitive matter in Germany: in 2008 Lidl went through a media storm when the other discount chain, Lidl, hired private investigators to check on its own employees.