Amazon hit with $35M fine for ‘excessively intrusive’ worker productivity monitoring

Amazon was slapped with a $35 million fine Tuesday after regulators in France determined that the e-commerce giant has an “excessively intrusive system” for keeping tabs on its warehouse workers.

The French Data Protection Authority, or CNIL, called out the company’s branch in the country, Amazon France Logistique, for requiring employees to use a barcode scanner to track their progress on tasks – such as storing items on shelves or packing them up for shipment.

Regulators said Amazon France Logistique set up three productivity tracking alerts that were found to be illegal – one that sent an error message if employees had scanned items “too quickly,” one that tracked “idle time” of 10 minutes or more” and one that tracked “periods of scanner interruption between one and ten minutes.”

“Indicators tracking the inactivity time of employees’ scanners were put in place,” the agency said in a statement. “The CNIL ruled that it was illegal to set up a system measuring work interruptions with such accuracy, potentially requiring employees to justify every break or interruption.”

The CNIL also accused Amazon of “excessive” storage of employees’ performance data regarding their daily asks.