Just how safe are you really, at Ikea?

Ikea, the home furnishing giant, has been charged to pay around 1.1 million euros (roughly $1.3 million USD) in fines and damages Tuesday over a campaign to spy on their own union representatives, employees and some unhappy customers in France, according to a French court.

The panel of judges at the Versailles court in France has found that between 2009 and 2012, Ikea’s French subsidiary started espionage tactics to sift out trouble-makers amongst the staff and to profile abrasive customers.

Adel Amara, a former Ikea employee who helped expose the wrongdoing, called the ruling “a big step in defense of the citizen….It makes me glad that there is justice in France.”

During the investigation and trial, Ikea France was convicted of receiving personal data obtained through fraudulent means in a habitual way, and ordered to pay 1 million euros in fines and about 100,000 euros ($121,225) in damages.

The upshot of the case saw two former Ikea France executives convicted, fined over the scheme, and given suspended prison sentences. Among the other 13 defendants in the high-profile trial, some were acquitted and others given suspended sentences.

Ingka Group, which owns and operates most Ikea stores worldwide, noted in a statement after the verdicts that the French retail operation made a statement saying: “strongly condemned the practices, apologized and implemented a major action plan to prevent this from happening again. We will now review the court’s decision in detail and consider if and where any additional measures are necessary.”

The incident over at France is thought to be an anomaly, but it is this author’s belief that some corporations DO somewhat gather information and monitor their employees while on premises – Ikea is probably the first one caught doing it to such extreme measures.

This is the original video that started it all:

So back to my opening question: how safe are you really in Ikea? Could they be doing the same thing everywhere else?

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Sources: 1, 2, 3

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