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H&M German Unit Fined $41.4 Million for Snooping on Staff

  • German privacy watchdog says company has now taken action
  • Fine was justified due to ‘gross disregard’ for privacy
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Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
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A Hennes & Mauritz AB unit was fined 35.3 million euros ($41.4 million) by a German data protection watchdog after managers trampled on the private lives of staff, storing details ranging from workers’ religious beliefs to their medical history.

“Unfortunately, we had an incident in a subsidiary in Germany that was reported to the data protection authority at the end of last year,” Chief Executive Officer Helena Helmersson said via phone. “After reviewing this incident, it’s clear that our guidelines have not been followed.” The Swedish retailer has had a dialog with the authority and is now reviewing the decision, she said.