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H&M is said to pay 35 million euros for data protection violations

Last updated on March 9, 2021

(Photo: Sorbis / shutterstock)

The Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is said to pay a fine of 35.3 million euros for spying on employees.

The monitoring of hundreds of employees of the service center in Nuremberg, the group voted against the privacy breach, founded the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection, Johannes Caspar, on Thursday the adoption.

The present case documents a serious disregard for employee data protection. “The amount of the fine imposed is therefore appropriate and suitable to deter companies from violating the privacy of their employees,” he emphasized.

The case is the responsibility of the Hamburg commissioner for data protection, because the company has its German headquarters in the Hanseatic city.

Violations since 2014

The case became known last year. According to the authority, information on their private living conditions has been extensively recorded and stored for some of the employees since 2014. After vacation and illness absences, superiors would have held a “Welcome Back Talk” and then in a number of cases not only documented specific vacation experiences, but also illness symptoms and diagnoses.

Some superiors had also “acquired a broad knowledge of the private life of their employees through one-on-one and floor-level discussions, ranging from harmless details to family problems and religious beliefs,” it said.

Caspar gave an expressly positive assessment of the efforts of the group management to “compensate those affected on site and restore trust in the company as an employer”. This clearly shows the will to “give those affected the respect and appreciation that they deserve as dependent employees in their daily work for their company.” Dpa

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