A French court ordered Ikea to pay more than 1 million euros (HK$9.41 million) yesterday over a campaign to spy on union representatives, employees and unhappy customers.
Two former Ikea France executives were convicted, fined and given suspended prison sentences.
The panel of judges found that Ikea France used espionage to sift out troublemakers in the ranks and profile squabbling customers between 2009 and 2012.
Former risk management executive Jean-Francois Paris – whose department handled the operation on orders from former Ikea France CEO Jean-Louis Baillot – acknowledged that 530,000 to 630,000 euros a year were earmarked for such investigations.
Paris admitted to the alleged illegal sleuthing and was fined 10,000 euros and given an 18-month suspended sentence. Baillot, who denied ordering up a spy operation, was fined 50,000 euros and given a two-year suspended sentence.
Thirteen other defendants were either acquitted or also given suspended sentences.