Ikea France fined €1m for spying on staff

June 16, 2021

by Ito Onojeghuo | LLM, FIP

Ikea France fined €1m for spying on staff

Ikea France was fined €1 million over elaborate snooping operations on employees, which involved private investigations by ex-police officers. This case which centred on Ikea France’s surveillance of staff during 2009-2012 (prior to the enforcement of the GDPR) included illegally accessing their criminal records in order to vet applicants for jobs.

Jean-Louis Baillot, a former chief of the French branch of the Swedish home furnishing giant, received a two-year suspended sentence and a €50,000 fine for presiding over the snooping operation.

Employee Monitoring and the GDPR

Under Article 88 of the GDPR, member states may by law or collective agreements provide for more specific rules around processing employees’ personal data. These rules must include suitable and specific measures to safeguard the data subject’s:

  • Human dignity
  • Legitimate interests
  • Fundamental rights

with particular regard for:

  • Transparency of processing
  • Transfer of personal data within a group of undertakings or a group of enterprises engaged in a joint economic activity

Key Considerations for Compliance

    Does the employer have lawful grounds for processing data, taking into consideration the EU Data Protection Law, The local data protection law and employment law.
    If lawfulness has been ascertained, would another less intrusive method fulfil the need?
    Is the monitoring proportionate to the issue?
    Have employees been informed of the monitoring?