France Fines Amazon $35M for Monitoring Employees Too Intrusively

    France Fines Amazon $35M for Monitoring Employees Too Intrusively
    Photo: Nathan Stirk/Contributor/Getty Images News via Getty Images Europe

    The Facts

    • The French Data Protection Authority ("CNIL") Tuesday fined Amazon's warehouse business $35M for using an "excessively intrusive system" to monitor employee performance.

    • The Authority said the fine, at about 3% of Amazon France Logistique's annual (2021) revenue of €1.1B ($1.19B), was "nearly unprecedented." It said several thousand employees were affected by the systems.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    France is absurdly singling out Amazon for simply having a super-efficient warehouse management system. The logistics sector is peppered with similar measures and systems in place across the world. The scale at which Amazon functions requires an intricate system to keep the company's operations flexible and adaptive. Some tweaks can be made according to local needs and laws, but this massive fine defies logic.

    Narrative B

    Measuring employee productivity to this extent reduces workers to robots that don't get breaks or social time at work. Companies should not be allowed to forget the humans at the heart of their operations. Signaling there's a problem if an item is scanned too quickly is just one example of poor work standards at Amazon.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Amazon will deliver some products by drone by May 2026, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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