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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  NASDAQ OMX STOCKHOLM  >  Hennes & Mauritz AB    HM B   SE0000106270

HENNES & MAURITZ AB

(HM B)
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Hennes & Mauritz : H&M Subject To €35.3m GDPR Fine For Keeping A Clothes Eye On Employees

11/16/2020 | 01:08pm EST

Multinational clothes retailer H&M has been fined €35.3m by the Hamburg data protection authority for unlawful employee-monitoring practices in breach of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR). The fine is the second largest imposed on a single company under the GDPR to date.

Unlawful Employee-Monitoring Practices

The fine was imposed on H&M Hennes & Mauritz Online Shop A.B. & Co. KG, a German subsidiary of the Swedish fashion giant.  Although registered in Hamburg, the entity operated a service centre in Nuremburg.  Supervisors at the service centre had a practice of collecting detailed private information from employees returning from holidays or sick leave - even short absences - through "welcome back talks".  The information collected was often highly personal, such as details of employees' holiday experiences and sometimes included special category personal data such as symptoms of illnesses and diagnoses.  Supervisors would also record information learned from employees through informal one-on-one discussions and corridor conversations.  The information gathered was summarised and saved digitally in notes which were available to key decision-makers in the company.  These findings were used in conjunction with meticulous work performance evaluations to develop in-depth profiles of employees, in what the Hamburg data protection authority stated amounted to "particularly intensive interference with the rights of those affected."

Investigation and Fine

The practices came to wider attention in October 2019 after the notes were briefly made accessible company-wide due to a technical error.  The Hamburg data protection authority ordered that the dataset be frozen and surrendered to it for inspection. Then began an investigation consisting of analysis of the 60GB dataset and interviews with witnesses to the contested practices.  The H&M entity responded to the revelations by taking various remedial measures, including apologising and paying compensation to the affected parties.  It also presented a plan to comprehensively overhaul its data protection practices, including appointing a new data protection coordinator, issuing monthly data protection status updates and better communicating to its employees the protections in place for whistleblowers.  A representative for the Hamburg data protection authority praised these efforts to compensate affected employees and to restore trust in the company as an employer, but stated that the practices demonstrated "a clear disregard for employee data protection" and that "the amount of the fine imposed [was] accordingly appropriate and suitable in order to deter companies from violating the privacy of their employees." 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Mr John O'Connor
William Fry
2 Grand Canal Square
Dublin 2
D02 A342
IRELAND

© Mondaq Ltd, 2020 - Tel. +44 (0)20 8544 8300 - http://www.mondaq.com, source Business Briefing

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Financials
Sales 2020 187 B 22 386 M 22 386 M
Net income 2020 1 042 M 125 M 125 M
Net Debt 2020 72 344 M 8 659 M 8 659 M
P/E ratio 2020 279x
Yield 2020 1,34%
Capitalization 297 B 35 751 M 35 589 M
EV / Sales 2020 1,98x
EV / Sales 2021 1,73x
Nbr of Employees 179 000
Free-Float 43,6%
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 25
Average target price 178,27 SEK
Last Close Price 179,65 SEK
Spread / Highest target 19,7%
Spread / Average Target -0,77%
Spread / Lowest Target -49,9%
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Managers and Directors
NameTitle
Helena Helmersson Chief Executive & Operating Officer
Karl-Johan Erling Persson Chairman
Adam Karlsson Chief Financial Officer
Joel Ankarberg Chief Technology Officer
Anders Gunnar Dahlvig Independent Director
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