The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information has imposed fine of around € 35.3 million on H&M on the ground that H&M has monitored of its several hundred employees.

In the present case, the Company recorded employees’ concrete vacation experience and symptoms of illness and diagnoses when absences such as sick leave was in question. In addition, some supervisors acquired a broad knowledge of their employees' private lives through personal and floor talks, ranging from rather harmless details to family issues and religious beliefs. Some of this knowledge was recorded, digitally stored and partly readable by up to 50 other managers throughout the company.

This data collection was made known by the fact that the data became accessible company-wide for several hours in October 2019 due to a configuration error.

The Commissioner states that this case documents a serious disregard for employee data protection at the H&M site in Nuremberg. The amount of the fine imposed is therefore adequate and effective to deter companies from violating the privacy of their employees.

You can read the full text of the decision here.

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Zumbul Attorneys-at-Law