IKEA has removed hidden security cameras from a warehouse in Peterborough after an employee spotted one between the panels of a suspended ceiling in a company toilet.
The employee entered the bathroom and saw a small red light when the main lights were switched off. Having reported it, it emerged there was a hidden camera.
A number of other cameras were found in similar spots in men’s and ladies’ toilets. IKEA admitted the cameras had been in place since 2015 but did not say when they were last used.
In a statement to Cambridgeshire Live, IKEA said: “Peterborough distribution centre is a large warehouse facility where forklift trucks and HGVs are in regular operation.
“In support of our health and safety policy, we have a drugs testing policy in place as per industry standards.
“The installation of the cameras in 2015 was to detect alleged activity that could have resulted in serious injury to co-workers, and to maintain a high level of safety on-site. The cameras were only ever intended to film activity in the roof space or corridors.”
According to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which regulates data protection, employers must be able to justify monitoring staff at work, and they must make staff aware that they’re being monitored and why.
In June, the French arm of the furniture company was fined €1 million (£860k) and a former CEO was given a suspended prison sentence for spying on as many as 400 staff.
An investigation revealed that a senior manager had shared employees’ details with a private security company, while some managers would send lists of job applicants to be screened by police officers.
IKEA added that it had removed the cameras and was offering support to colleagues on site.