Furniture store IKEA has to pay more than a million euros in damages and fines from a French court. On Tuesday, IKEA was convicted of spying on French trade union representatives, employees and some disgruntled customers. The company has not yet decided to appeal.
The panel of judges of the court in Versailles ruled that the French branch of IKEA used espionage between 2009 and 2012 to monitor critical employees and profile dissatisfied customers.
Trade unions accused IKEA France of illegally collecting personal data and disclosing personal information. The data came from, among other things, illegally obtained police files.
The unions claimed that IKEA paid France to access police files containing information about targeted persons, especially trade union activists and customers who had a dispute with IKEA.
Two former directors IKEA get suspended prison sentence
In one situation, IKEA France was accused of using unauthorized information to try to catch an employee who had applied for unemployment benefit but was driving a Porsche.
In another case, the French branch reportedly investigated an employee’s criminal record in order to determine how the employee was able to own a BMW on a low income.
Two former directors of French branch of IKEA were convicted and fined for the scheme and received suspended prison sentences. Of the other thirteen defendants in the trial, some were acquitted and others were given suspended sentences.
IKEA’s French subsidiary employs more than ten thousand people in 34 stores, an e-commerce site and a Customer Support Center
Former director of IKEA-France, Jean-Louis Baillot, who denied having set up a espionage operation, was fined 50,000 euros and sentenced to a suspended sentence of two years. Another former CEO of IKEA France was acquitted for lack of evidence.