In Versailles on Monday, March 22, the trial of the French representative office of IKEA, as well as 15 individuals, including the former management of the company and four police officers, accused of creating a system of tracking employees and trade unionists, began.
This is reported by RFI.
IKEA France faces up to 3.75 million euros in fines, and some defendants face up to 10 years in prison.
The details of this scandal first became publicly known in 2012, after publications in the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine and on the investigative website Mediapart.
During the investigation, a “surveillance system” was discovered, according to the Versailles prosecutor’s office – not only for IKEA employees but also for job candidates. The system operated throughout France, writes France-Presse.
Correspondence between Jean-Francois Paris, former director of security at IKEA France, and Jean-Pierre Furies, head of the private detective agency Eirpace, was passed to the press, as well as to the prosecutor’s office.
According to the prosecution, Paris sent Furies the names, dates of birth, and document numbers of employees or candidates, and Furies ‘company fulfilled the “order” by “punching” these people in a closed police base through the police, four of whom also ended up in the dock.
Thanks to this system, IKEA investigated their bank accounts and even found out the details of their personal lives.
According to Le Monde, the system worked “on an industrial scale”: for example, on November 7, 2008, Fours received a request concerning an IKEA store in Rouen, which had 203 names.
The violation was found in the vast majority of the three dozen French stores, but the ex-directors of three of them will appear in court: in Franconville, Reims, and Avignon, because the statute of limitations has expired in other cases.
IKEA representative Emmanuel Daoud said that it is more about IKEA’s “organizational shortcomings”, and not at all about the deliberate creation of a”surveillance system”.