German retailer halts closed-circuit monitoring of stores

6th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

Shrinkage, or theft by shop assistants, is a bigger problem for many stores than shoplifting by customers, but the German company has faced a storm after a disclosure that store detectives checking the video footage had also noted down romances between staff.

Neckarsulm, Germany -- One of Europe's biggest retailers, discount grocer Lidl, said it was suspending closed-circuit TV monitoring of its German stores, which it introduced to prevent pilfering by staff.

Shrinkage, or theft by shop assistants, is a bigger problem for many stores than shoplifting by customers, but the German company has faced a storm after a disclosure that store detectives checking the video footage had also noted down romances between staff.

Lidl, which also has stores in Italy and many other European nations, said from its offices in Neckarsulm, Germany that it had already begun to remove the video cameras and would draft a new monitoring policy from the ground up.

Last month, the German weekly Stern said Lidl store detectives were analysing the video recordings to note how often staff went to the toilet, who was in love with whom and whether staff appeared stupid or smart.

This week Lidl apologized to staff and said that had never been its intention.

The new monitoring guidelines would be aimed at fighting theft while making it impossible to collect personal information about staff and shoppers. Lidl has engaged a former German federal data-privacy commissioner, Joachim Jacob, to advise it on the new policy.

DPA with Expatica

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