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Amazon logo: The company has to pay a fine of millions in France

Photo: Pascal Rossignol / REUTERS

The French data protection authority has imposed a fine of 32 million euros on the logistics divisions of the online retailer Amazon for monitoring its employees.

Amazon monitored the activity of its warehouse workers “down to the second,” said the National Commission for Information Technology and Freedoms (CNIL).

The workers were under constant pressure and even the time between entering the warehouse and starting work was monitored.

Accordingly, the company primarily used the data from the scanning devices that employees use to process packages.

This meant that workers had to justify any interruption in the operation of their scanner, even if it was only for a few minutes, which "put constant pressure on them," explained the CNIL.

Thousands of people are affected.

Repeats reports of grievances

The fine corresponds to three percent of the turnover of the French Amazon subsidiary.

Under the European General Data Protection Regulation, data protection authorities can impose penalties on companies of up to four percent of turnover.

The CNIL ordered an investigation into Amazon in 2019 after there were repeated reports of abuses in the company's warehouses.

Amazon criticized the penalty and announced legal action.

"We completely disagree with the CNIL's conclusions, which are factually incorrect, and reserve the right to appeal," said a company spokesman.

Amazon is considered one of the largest employers in the world.

In the past there has also been criticism of the working conditions there in Germany.

As early as 2020, Lower Saxony's state data protection officer found that Amazon's surveillance was "seriously interfering with the right to informational self-determination" of its employees.