Ikea Fined Millions of Dollars After Being Caught Spying on Employees and Customers

A French court found executives guilty of an ongoing plot to expose “troublesome” workers through the use of private investigators.

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16, 2021

2 min read

Ikea is under fire after being caught spying on workers in stores in France.

The retail giant was fined the equivalent of $1.3 million after a French court found the two high-up executives guilty over an ongoing plot to expose “troublesome” workers and displeased shoppers via the hiring and use of private investigators.

Former risk management executive Jean-François Paris admitted to the illegal activity, citing that certain funds were set aside to use for the operations. He claimed he was following orders from former CEO of Ikea France, Jean-Louis Baillot.

Related: IKEA Recalls Hundreds of Bowls, Plates for Burn Hazards

Paris was fined a little over $12,000 and was given a year and six month suspended sentence.

Baillot denied all involvement and accusations but was still convicted. He was fined the equivalent of $60,000 and was sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence.

The trial oversaw over 15 people allegedly involved in the espionage plot that ran from 2009 to 2012.

Other executives were either convicted and fined, acquitted or given suspended prison sentences.

The Associated Press detailed some of the alleged spying situations, one in which executives were using illegaly obtained information to determine how one Ikea employee with a known criminal record was able to purchase a BMW.

Related: IKEA Recalls 36 Million Chests, Dressers After Six Deaths

Another accusation claims there was an internal audit run on an Ikea employee in an attempt to find any incriminating behavior that could result in said employee being fired.

Ikea made a statement following the conviction saying the company “strongly” condemns the behavior of the convicted executives and Ikea has “apologized for this situation which seriously undermined the company’s values and ethical standards.”

Ikea was brought to trial after trade unions in France had accused the international retailer of illegally obtaining personal information and data.

The company is facing a tough year following several recalls on potentially dangerous pieces of furniture and tableware, including an incident in March where the company’s Kullen 3 drawer chest was recalled after it was found that if not secured stably to a wall, the dresser could easily tip over and entrap anyone below it, particularly children.

There are currently 445 Ikea stores worldwide, 36 of which are in France.

Related: IKEA reprints and delays the launch of its 2021 catalog for an image

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