There’s a point when things done in the name of protecting safety and privacy start to violate safety and privacy — and it appears that an IKEA in England may have crossed that line.
Recently, when a light went out in a bathroom at the Peterborough IKEA Distribution Centre at Kingston Park, a member of staff noticed something they’d never seen before: Between the gaps in the ceiling panels, they spotted an infrared light.
As the story traveled, more staff members discovered more cameras in both the men and women’s restrooms. According to the Peterborough Telegraph, though no concrete number has been shared, there were multiple cameras found.
While CCTV cameras are allowed in “sensitive” areas such as bathrooms and changing rooms, data protection laws require that it only be under “exceptional circumstances,” according to the Telegraph.
When staff pressed management for an answer, they were told the cameras were installed in 2015 but have been non-operational for some time.
“We take the protection of our co-workers’ safety and privacy very seriously,” a spokesperson told the Telegraph. “In 2015, for the purpose of maintaining a safe workplace for all co-workers, surveillance cameras were installed in the void above the ceilings in the bathrooms and locker areas, and in the corridors outside of these rooms at the Peterborough Distribution Centre.
“Investigations into this issue are ongoing and we are working hard to remove the cameras as a matter of priority. We understand the discovery of these cameras may be concerning, and during this time we are offering support to co-workers on-site.”
Understandably, the workers haven’t been thrilled with that response.
“I have never heard anything like it before. I am struggling to take it in,” one employee said. “How on earth did anyone think that was ever acceptable? There must have been thousands of people that might have had their privacy breached in those toilets, there are so many workers that come and go from the place.”
Others have pointed out that if the cameras weren’t working, the staff shouldn’t have been able to see the infrared light, and yet another employee pointed out that “[t]hey were not wireless cameras, there is a whole network of cable.”
People identifying themselves as former employees of the business have commented on social media shares of the story to add their angle.
“The cameras were reported in 2016 when I worked there they have had plenty of time to remove them if they wanted to,” one person wrote on the original Peterborough Telegraph post.
Some have voiced outrage, others shock, and a good few have taken the opportunity to make fun of the whole situation.
“Eye-kea,” wrote one. “Cheeky,” wrote another. “Classic Peterborough,” a third chimed in.
Some people pointed out that the cameras were probably intended to aid in loss prevention. One person commented that it would be a bit difficult to hide a dresser on your person, though, and another quipped that perhaps Ikea was trying to crack down on the employees who must be stealing that last baggie of screws that always seem to be missing from the kits.
Whatever the original reason for installing the cameras and the justification for keeping them in place, it certainly seems as though the staff will be a little more comfortable once the allegedly outdated cameras are removed.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.