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Employee spying reportedly widespread in Germany

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Employee spying reportedly widespread in Germany
Photo: DPA
14:51 CEST+02:00
The legally questionable practice of spying on employees isn't just happening at discount grocery store Lidl, German news weekly Stern reported on Wednesday, it's happening in chain stores all over Germany.

In late March Stern broke the story that Lidl had systematically spied on employees using miniature cameras, but the magazines' latest edition claims that other stores - Penny, Netto, Norma, Edeka, Plus, REWE, Tegut, Hagebau and Famila - are also spying on their workers.

Stern reported Wednesday that the secret surveillance at these stores is only allowed in the case of justified criminal suspicion, but surveillance logs acquired by the magazine show that detectives have recorded the "private relationships, love lives, divorce, alcohol problems, illness, unemployed relatives," and that "everything interested the detectives."

The magazine quoted spy log details, like this from discount store Penny: "Mrs. A. is from Bavaria and has a rustic demeanor. She is very aware and should be watched closely."

Stern also quotes the health status of an employee at discount grocery Plus: "Mr. N. is a heavy smoker. His very shaky hands attract attention...the very high nicotine need and trembling hands point to a clinical picture that is intolerable for a business in the long term."

In most cases, the named stores did not deny the surveillance, which they said was meant to prevent theft, Stern reported.

The oldest surveillance report came from 2004, and the latest from December 2007.

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