H&M has stored a lot of information about its employees in a call center in Nuremberg. Now H&M is said to pay 35 million euros because of these data protection violations. The case became known last year.

The Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is said to pay a fine of 35.3 million euros for spying on employees. The Hamburg commissioner for data protection, Johannes Caspar, justified the decree on Thursday by monitoring hundreds of employees at the service center in Nuremberg.

The present case documents a serious disregard for employee data protection. “The amount of the fine that was imposed is therefore appropriate and suitable to deter companies from violating the privacy of their employees,” he emphasized.

The case is the responsibility of the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection, because the company has its German headquarters in the Hanseatic city.

The case became known last year. According to the authority, information on their private living conditions has been extensively recorded and stored for some of the employees since at least 2014. After vacation and illness absences, superiors would have held a “Welcome Back Talk” and then in a number of cases not only documented specific vacation experiences, but also symptoms of illness and diagnoses.

Some superiors had also “acquired a broad knowledge of the private life of their employees through one-on-one and floor-to-floor discussions, ranging from harmless details to family problems and religious beliefs,” it said.