Ikea France on trial for snooping on staff and customers

Ikea France on trial for snooping on staff and customers

"We're here to today to show that there are these types of actions inside companies that police trade unions and above all their employees," said a senior member of the hard-left CGT union. They said that sometimes Ikea France would send an incriminating file on an employee to police "to get rid of that person via a legal procedure outside the company". The court is investigating Ikea's practices between 2009 and 2012, but prosecutors say they started nearly a decade earlier. Ikea France, which employs 10,000 people, faces a fine of up to €3.75 million (£). Tonight Mostly clear, but some areas of fog possible late, especially south and east. Ikea fired four executives in France after the criminal probe was opened. Prosecutors say Ikea France gathered information on hundreds of existing staff and job applicants, including confidential data on criminal records, as part of a "spying system". Some of the charges carry a maximum prison term of 10 years. "This trial must set an example," said Adel Amara, a former Force Ouvrière union rep at an Ikea store. Prosecutors say he regularly sent lists of names to private investigators, whose combined annual bill could run up to €600,000, according to court documents seen by Agence France-Presse.

Ikea France on trial over claims it spied on staff, clients | CP24.com

The former head of Ikea France's risk management department, Jean-François Paris, acknowledged to French judges that 530,000 to 630,000 euros a year (£454,600 to £540,400) were earmarked for such investigations. One accusation alleged that Ikea France used unauthorised data to try to catch an employee who had claimed unemployment benefits but drove a Porsche.  Another says the subsidiary investigated an employee's criminal record to determine how the employee was able to own a BMW on a low income. Among staff allegedly snooped on was an until-then model Bordeaux employee who managers thought may in fact pose an "eco-terrorism" threat. Customers the company was in a dispute with also allegedly had their personal information inappropriately accessed. Prosecutors say he regularly sent lists of names to private investigators, whose combined annual bill could run up to €600,000, according to court documents seen by Agence France-Presse.The court is investigating Ikea's practices between 2009 and 2012, but prosecutors say they started nearly a decade earlier.Among the targets was a staff member in Bordeaux "who used to be a model employee, but has suddenly become a protester", according to an email sent by Paris. At the time, Ikea France swiftly apologised for practices it said were "not up to our values or ethical standards". Paris, who is among those accused, said his department was responsible for handling it.

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Today Sunny and remaining pleasant. On Monday, Emmanuel Daoud, a lawyer for Ikea France, rejected the spying accusations, but acknowledged that the case had revealed "organisational weaknesses". The lawyer for Ikea France, Emmanuel Daoud, said there was no poof of "a widespread system of spying." The lawyer for the company's former human resources director called the case "a fairy tale" invented by union activists.



Jean-Francois Paris, Ikea France's former director of risk management, is accused of sending lists of names to be investigated to private investigators. The case first came to light in 2012 when unionists leaked their legal complaints to investigative journalists. Union members and their representatives were among those targeted, prosecutors allege. He said the company had since implemented an action plan, including a complete revamp of hiring procedures."Whatever the court rules, the company has already been punished very severely in terms of its reputation," he said.Founded in 1943, the Swedish multinational Ikea's ready-to-assemble furniture and accessories are sold in about 400 stores worldwide.TopicsIkeaFranceRetail industryEuropenewsReuse this content

At the heart of the system allegedly was Jean-François Paris, Ikea France's former director of risk management. Defendants include former store managers and top executives such as former CEO Stefan Vanoverbeke and his predecessor, Jean-Louis Baillot, who were both present on Monday. Ikea denies spying but did say the case had highlighted 'organisational weaknesses' Credit:  Christophe Ena/AP Prosecutors allege that Jean-Francois Paris, Ikea France's former director of risk management, was at the heart of the system. They say he frequently sent lists of names to private investigators, whose combined annual bill could run up to €600,000, according to court documents seen by AFP. The trial continues. Both men were present on Monday but declined to comment to waiting reporters.The group also includes four police officers accused of handing over confidential information.The charges include illegal gathering of personal information, receiving illegally-gathered personal information, and violating professional confidentiality, some of which carry a maximum prison term of 10 years."We are here to today to show that there are these types of actions inside companies that police trade unions and above all their employees," a senior member of the CGT union, Amar Lagha, told reporters.At the heart of the system allegedly was Jean-François Paris, Ikea France's former director of risk management.   Related Topics Ikea, Europe, France Twitter Icon Facebook Icon WhatsApp Icon Email Icon Comment speech bubble. The company had revamped its hiring and security procedures, he said. Such messages usually went to Jean-Pierre Fources, the boss of the surveillance company Eirpace.He would then send Paris confidential information, which prosecutors say he got from the police database STIC with the help of the four officers.Prosecutors say the information flow may even have gone both ways, with an internal Ikea France document recommending handing over its report about an employee to police "to get rid of that person via a legal procedure outside the company".Emmanuel Daoud, a lawyer for Ikea France, acknowledged that the case had revealed "organisational weaknesses". "Whatever the court rules, the company has already been punished very severely in terms of its reputation," he said ahead of the trial. The group also includes four police officers accused of handing over confidential information. The bill for these investigations could have been up to €600,000, according to court documents seen by the AFP news agency.

Ikea's French subsidiary has gone on trial accused of running an elaborate system to spy on staff and job applicants using private detectives and police officers.Ikea France, as a corporate entity, is being prosecuted in a court in Versailles, as well as several of its former executives who could face prison terms.The investigative publications Le Canard Enchaîné and Mediapart uncovered the surveillance scheme in 2012, and magistrates began investigating after the Force Ouvrière union lodged a legal complaint.Prosecutors say Ikea France set up a "spying system" across its French operations, collecting information about the private lives of hundreds of existing and prospective staff, including confidential information about criminal records.Since the revelations, the company has sacked four executives, but Ikea France, which employs 10,000 people, still faces a fine of up to €3.75m (£3.22m).The 15 people being tried in the court include former store managers and executives such as the former CEO Stefan Vanoverbeke and his predecessor, Jean-Louis Baillot. Tomorrow Some early morning fog; otherwise, sunshine giving way to some afternoon high clouds; still pleasant.

Ikea France went on trial on Monday along with 15 people accused of spying on staff and "difficult" customers using private detectives and police officers. "We want to know how that change happened," he said, wondering whether there might be "a risk of eco-terrorism".In another case, Paris wanted to know how an employee could afford to drive a brand-new BMW convertible. Information requests were usually went to Jean-Pierre Foures, the boss of surveillance company Eirpace, who would then glean data from the police database STIC with the help of the four officers, say prosecutors.


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